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:

    Der Spiegel to run 23-page special on reporter who faked stories

    German magazine calls Claas Relotius scam ‘worst thing that can happen’ to editorial team

    The German news weekly Der Spiegel is to publish a 23-page special report on how one of its award-winning reporters faked stories for years and dealt a blow to media credibility.

    Claas Relotius, 33, resigned after admitting making up stories and inventing protagonists in more than a dozen articles in the magazine’s print and online editions.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The term “social network” has become a meaningless association of words

    The year social networks were no longer social

    In praise of private communities

    The term “social network” has become a meaningless association of words. Pair those two words and it becomes a tech category, the equivalent of a single term to define a group of products.

    But are social networks even social anymore? If you have a feeling of tech fatigue when you open the Facebook app, you’re not alone. Watching distant cousins fight about politics in a comment thread is no longer fun.

    Chances are you have dozens, hundreds or maybe thousands of friends and followers across multiple platforms. But those crowded places have never felt so empty.

    It doesn’t mean that you should move to the woods and talk with animals. And Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn won’t collapse overnight. They have intrinsic value with other features — social graphs, digital CVs, organizing events…

    But the concept of wide networks of social ties with an element of broadcasting is dead.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    As social networks become bigger, content becomes garbage.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Apple CEO Tim Cook: It’s ‘a sin’ to not ban people who ‘push division’ from platforms

    Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested on Monday that it is a “sin” not to ban certain people from social media and digital platforms.

    While accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s “Courage Against Hate” award at an event in New York City, Cook also advocated for censorship of “those who push hate [and] division” across Apple’s platform.

    The tech CEO implied numerous times that he felt as if he had a moral obligation to ban and censor certain types of people who express thoughts that opposed the “values of Apple.”

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook is not equipped to stop the spread of authoritarianism

    Whether by accident or design, Facebook makes it easy for even low-tech governments to silence dissent

    “One of the issues with computer interfaces is that when people log into a site, they get a false sense of privacy even when the things they’re posting in that site are widely available to the public,” said O’Brien. Case in point: this year, women anonymously shared their experiences of abusive co-workers in a shared Google Doc — the so-called “Shitty Media Men” list, likely without realizing that a lawsuit could unmask them. That’s exactly what is happening.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nellie Bowles / New York Times:
    As some prominent creators leave in protest after Patreon bans anti-feminist for hate speech, a look at its approach to policing speech with human moderators — Sam Harris, the polemical atheist neuroscientist known for his popular pod

    Patreon Bars Anti-Feminist for Racist Speech, Inciting Revolt

    Sam Harris, the polemical atheist neuroscientist known for his popular podcast “Waking Up,” was making tens of thousands of dollars a month from fans who donated to him through Patreon, a crowdfunding site.

    That stopped this month. On Dec. 6, Patreon kicked the anti-feminist polemic Carl Benjamin, who works under the name Sargon of Akkad, off its site for using racist language on YouTube. That same week, it removed the right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos a day after he opened an account.

    “These recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias,” Mr. Harris wrote to his followers.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Max Read / New York Magazine:
    The internet now feels increasingly fake as trust declines and users begin to appreciate how bots fake page views, conversations, and more

    How Much of the Internet Is Fake? Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

    In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and “premium” websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which to host them.

    How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,”

    In the future, when I look back from the high-tech gamer jail in which President PewDiePie will have imprisoned me, I will remember 2018 as the year the internet passed the Inversion, not in some strict numerical sense, since bots already outnumber humans online more years than not, but in the perceptual sense. The internet has always played host in its dark corners to schools of catfish and embassies of Nigerian princes, but that darkness now pervades its every aspect: Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake; everything that once seemed slightly fake now has the power and presence of the real. The “fakeness” of the post-Inversion internet is less a calculable falsehood and more a particular quality of experience — the uncanny sense that what you encounter online is not “real” but is also undeniably not “fake,” and indeed may be both at once, or in succession, as you turn it over in your head.

    The metrics are fake.

    ake something as seemingly simple as how we measure web traffic. Metrics should be the most real thing on the internet: They are countable, trackable, and verifiable, and their existence undergirds the advertising business that drives our biggest social and search platforms. Yet not even Facebook, the world’s greatest data–gathering organization, seems able to produce genuine figures.

    The people are fake.

    And maybe we shouldn’t even assume that the people are real. Over at YouTube, the business of buying and selling video views is “flourishing,”

    The businesses are fake.

    The money is usually real. Not always — ask someone who enthusiastically got into cryptocurrency this time last year — but often enough to be an engine of the Inversion. If the money is real, why does anything else need to be?

    The content is fake.

    The only site that gives me that dizzying sensation of unreality as often as Amazon does is YouTube, which plays host to weeks’ worth of inverted, inhuman content. TV episodes that have been mirror-flipped to avoid copyright takedowns air next to huckster vloggers flogging merch who air next to anonymously produced videos that are ostensibly for children.

    These, at least, are mostly bootleg videos of popular fictional characters, i.e., counterfeit unreality. Counterfeit reality is still more difficult to find—for now. In January 2018, an anonymous Redditor created a relatively easy-to-use desktop-app implementation of “deepfakes,” the now-infamous technology that uses artificial-intelligence image processing to replace one face in a video with another — putting, say, a politician’s over a porn star’s.

    Our politics are fake.

    Such a loss of any anchoring “reality” only makes us pine for it more. Our politics have been inverted along with everything else, suffused with a Gnostic sense that we’re being scammed and defrauded and lied to but that a “real truth” still lurks somewhere.

    We ourselves are fake.

    Which, well. Everywhere I went online this year, I was asked to prove I’m a human. Can you retype this distorted word? Can you transcribe this house number? Can you select the images that contain a motorcycle? I found myself prostrate daily at the feet of robot bouncers, frantically showing off my highly developed pattern-matching skills — does a Vespa count as a motorcycle, even?

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nisha Chittal / Vox:
    How indie bookstores are thriving by using Instagram to build communities, and creating “Instagram walls” that often lead to viral photos and free marketing — Stores like Books Are Magic and the Last Bookstore are benefiting from love on #bookstagram. — The internet is killing independent bookstores.

    Instagram is helping save the indie bookstore

    Stores like Books Are Magic and the Last Bookstore are benefiting from love on #bookstagram.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pete Brown / Columbia Journalism Review:
    A content analysis of mobile news alerts in 2018 shows their number and length rose since 2017; companion case study confirms shift from just breaking news

    Pushed Even Further: US Newsrooms View Mobile Alerts as a Standalone Platform

    In 2017, we did a deep dive into mobile push alerts, publishing a report in collaboration with the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab that looked at newsrooms’ push notification usage and strategy. But a year is a long time in the world of push alerts—and, of course, mobile phones.

    What we found is that while the basic form and appearance of push notifications may not have evolved dramatically in the intervening 12 months, it’s the strategic thinking around newsroom usage that has.

    “approach to push alerts has changed drastically.” Another from The New York Times said it was “a big moment for us as a newsroom to say: push is its own platform. It deserves to have all of the intention and critical thinking that the front page does, that the home page does.”

    Among the 30 news outlets in our study, most averaged more push alerts per week this year than last. The weekly average across all outlets jumped up 16 percent from 22.4 per app, per week in 2017, to 26 per app, per week in 2018.

    Rich notifications containing images and video continue to remain rare, as does the use of emoji.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Digital Adaptation in Local News

    More than a quarter century after the creation of the World Wide Web, nine in ten Americans get at least some news online. But in many ways, local news publishing is still adapting to the internet as a news medium. For many publishers, the internet is like an ill-fitting suit: functional, but not made for them.

    On the whole, newspapers, broadcasters and digital-native publishers hold a few things in common: Most are online, serve advertising, and have a Facebook profile.

    But not all share even those attributes. About one in ten local news outlets do not have a website. Some outlets do not have a presence on Facebook. And there are even some local news outlets that seem to have leapfrogged past web 1.0 and straight to social media.

    In many other respects, the digital footprint of a local news outlet can be predicted by the identity of its legacy platform.

    Media attention to the “duopoly” dominating the digital advertising market has focused more on Facebook than on Google. But the latter’s many tentacles in the online local news space are striking.

    There are some signs that, at least on a basic level, publishers are seeing the writing on the wall and prioritizing accordingly. For example, only about a quarter of local news outlets maintain their own mobile app, which, with some exceptions, may simply not be worth the effort to build and update. But the vast majority offer a mobile browsing experience that is optimized for small screens—an important user experience feature. Individually hosted websites—as opposed to those hosted by Google’s AMP service—continue to be slow-loading, however; a problem that risks losing audiences in today’s highly mobile and competitive attention economy.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jeff Jarvis / Whither news?:
    A look at what German media academics and journalists, including Mother Jones’ CEO, are saying about the Der Spiegel scandal and the lessons to be learned

    The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling

    The German journalism world is grappling with the implications of a shocking scandal at Der Spiegel: An award-winning, 33-year-old reporter — no, a fabulist and a fraud — named Claas Relotius made up article after article with stunning and audacious contempt for truth, as this fact-checking of his account of the rural American psyche makes clear.

    German journalists are questioning Der Spiegel’s process and Relotius’ own psyche (he told his editors that he was motivated by a fear of failure) — as occurred in comparable American scandals of Jayson Blair at The New York Times and Janet Cooke at The Washington Post. But the Germans are digging deeper into the essence of journalism, questioning the perils of the seduction of the narrative form; the misplaced rewards inherent in professional awards; the risk to credibility for the institution in the time of “f*ke news;” the need for investigative self-examination in media; and more.

    The perils of the story and storyteller

    “What shows up here is called the narrative distortion, story bias. You have the story in your head, you know what sound readers or colleagues want to hear. And you deliver what works.” And it worked. Relotius was so well-known for his style that his magazine had a label for it: “the Relotius sound.”

    In journalism, the story too often becomes a self-fulfilling creation. Early in my career at the Chicago Tribune, I watched a managing editor write a headline — complete with victim and drama — and then direct his investigative task force to go get that story.

    The Spiegel affair cuts deeper into our presumptions and make us ask whether our compulsion to make news compelling (yes, entertaining) leads us astray. In various of the German reactions I read, some wondered whether we should in essence make news duller: just the facts, mein Herr. “At last, don’t we need a new objectivity, a return to stricter form,” Pörksen asks

    The real problem, of course, is that we have let our means of production determine our mission rather than the other way around

    The perils of prizes and self-congratulation

    Relotius has already returned his four awards from the German Reporter Forum and some are questioning the value of such awards. That is another long-held heresy of mine: that our Pulitzers are bad for American journalism as they motivate us to impress each other, more than to serve the public. Of course, that’s not always the case, just too often it is.

    “What happens when an industry is characterized by its vanity?”

    The larger problem here is that our measurements of success are royally fucked up. On the business side, we value volume for volume’s sake — circulation, audience, pageviews, clicks, CPM — which, as I like to say, inevitably leads to cats and Kardashians and ultimately to clickbait made flesh, Donald Trump. On the editorial side, we value attention to us — most read, most clicked, most emailed, time spent. All of these metrics are mediacentric, egocentric.

    If anyone’s going to give journalism prizes, let it be the communities we serve.

    As for the artful, rich, perfect story that is made to win awards: Leave it behind.

    A failure of fact-checking

    Der Spiegel’s fact-checking process is renowned — like The New Yorker’s still or like Time Inc.’s back in the day — so how could it fail? In this time of dis- and misinformation, fact-checkers are our last, best defenders of the truth.

    too often relied on the credibility of the reporter. He says these systems are built to pick up the error of the busy reporter who’s sloppy or hurried or merely human, not the work of a fraud. This is an indicator of a closed system that verifies trust by trusting itself.

    To be clear: Facts are the essence of journalism. Fact-checking is vital. I’ve been arguing that in J-schools, we need to do more to teach as a skill verification of both facts and of what people are saying in social media. But in the end, we must remember that facts themselves are a system that can be manipulated.

    Fake news, fake reporter

    What hurts so much about this case is, of course, its moment in time. Just as journalism is being attacked in the United States from the top of government as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people” and as it is being attacked in Germany as die Lügenpresse (a revived Nazi slur meaning the lying press), here comes a scandal brimming with journalistic lies.

    Oh, I hear some saying, but because of the internet, we have fewer resources and so doing good work becomes only harder; we can’t afford fact-checking and investigation and wisdom. No. This is why we must prioritize our work with our mission.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nellie Bowles / New York Times:
    As some prominent creators leave in protest after Patreon bans anti-feminist for hate speech, a look at its approach to policing speech with human moderators — Sam Harris, the polemical atheist neuroscientist known for his popular podcast “Waking Up,” was making tens of thousands of dollars …

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ken Doctor / Nieman Lab:
    Lessons for journalists from 2018 and a look ahead: emphasis on subscriptions, possible newspaper chain consolidation, and regional news network experiments — We live in transgressive, new-Orwellian times. Fact has been subverted by forces beyond our imagination, both newly minted and old school.

    Newsonomics: 18 lessons for the news business from 2018

    From paywalls to politics, pipes companies to public radio, the Post to The Post, podcasting to partnerships, and the press to a president.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
    A look at journalism in 2018, from the revival of the LA Times to the horrific murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi — In 2018, those who follow the fortunes of journalism in America probably heard a name — and, separately, a terrible nickname — for the first time.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Jukes / Byline:
    BBC’s failure to adequately cover important stories like Brexit in the name of “balance” can turn it into a hostage to politics, rather than an observer of it — 2018 has been a troubling year for those who support public service broadcasting and the national broadcaster’s remit to INFORM not just entertain.

    A Duty to Inform, as well as Entertain: The BBC On the Edge of an Abyss

    2018 has been a troubling year for those who support public service broadcasting and the national broadcaster’s remit to INFORM not just entertain.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Megha Rajagopalan / BuzzFeed News:
    How efforts by independent investigators and NGOs to document human rights violations in war zones are hampered by proactive content removals by social networks

    The Histories Of Today’s Wars Are Being Written On Facebook And YouTube. But What Happens When They Get Taken Down?

    Investigators depend on photos and videos posted online from war zones. But takedowns by Facebook and YouTube are putting the war crimes prosecutions of the future at risk.

    It was a landmark moment — the first time in the history of the ICC that images or videos posted on social media had formed the bulk of the evidence cited in a warrant.

    In some ways, the development seemed natural.

    both militants and ordinary Libyans began documenting the conflict in real time with their cellphones, and posting thousands of photos and videos online. Academics, activists and war crimes investigators were looking on and saw something more than brutality — a windfall of potential evidence.

    “We are just now seeing the coming to fruition of cases reflecting atrocities perpetrated in the age of social media,”

    It was all the more ironic that in some cases, militants and their associates were incriminating themselves, filming videos of executions and other atrocities as pieces of propaganda.

    The way investigators document human rights abuses is undergoing a fundamental shift.

    But this shift in how war crimes are being investigated comes at the same time that social media companies are facing unprecedented criticism for failing to police their platforms, allowing neo-Nazis and other extremist groups to spread their messages online.

    In this debate, companies have been caught between people who want platforms to guard free speech rights and those who say it’s imperative that companies are tough on hate speech — but one thing almost no one wants on social media platforms is content that could promote terrorism.

    “We are committed to ensuring human rights activists and citizen journalists have a voice on YouTube and we are proud of how our service has been used to expose what is happening across the globe,” a spokesperson for YouTube told BuzzFeed News.

    But the removal of this kind of content is posing a major problem for researchers who are using it for documentation.

    What’s clear is that a handful of tech companies in Silicon Valley now hold the keys to a growing treasure trove of evidence posted on social media that is increasingly crucial to building cases, and they have the power to aid — or silence — investigations.

    Facebook and YouTube say they are taking a much more proactive approach to removing problematic content, hiring more staff to address this worldwide, particularly those proficient in local languages, and developing algorithms to automatically flag violent posts.

    YouTube says it encourages people who post videos to include context that makes it clear they’re not being posted as propaganda for a militant group. But generally speaking, a lack of this kind of context or a high level of graphic violence means videos are taken down, a YouTube spokesperson said. It’s unclear why Bellingcat, an organization known for research, had videos removed from its own YouTube account, though Higgins said he had been in touch with the company since 2013.

    “Inevitably, both humans and machines make mistakes,” a spokesperson for YouTube said.

    “The process is quite messy. When YouTube channels are credible and they’ve been removed, we ask them to reinstate them again. But then they remove it again,” Khatib said. “We have cases where accounts have been removed three or four times at least after being reinstated.”

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm that used social media to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, turned to Instagram for its disinformation campaigns after the 2016 election, according to reports issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The agency, widely believed to have ties to the Russian government, reduced its activities on Facebook and Twitter after those companies paid closer attention to the parties opening accounts to spread disruptive information.


    Russian Trolls Came for Instagram, Too

    A look at posts from the Internet Research Agency reveals that the group used Instagram for several distinct purposes.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why It’s (Sometimes) Illegal to Use These Colors

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Max Fisher / New York Times:
    Over 1,400 pages of leaked Facebook content rules for moderators reveal gaps, biases, and errors as Facebook tries to distill complex issues into yes/no rules

    Inside Facebook’s Secret Rulebook

    In a glass conference room at its California headquarters, Facebook is taking on the bonfires of hate and misinformation it has helped fuel across the world, one post at a time.

    The social network has drawn criticism for undermining democracy and for provoking bloodshed in societies small and large.

    But for Facebook, it’s also a business problem.

    The company, which makes about $5 billion in profit per quarter, has to show that it is serious about removing dangerous content. It must also continue to attract more users from more countries and try to keep them on the site longer.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Parents alarmed as TikTok videos hit primetime for teens

    Millions of teenagers seeking their 15 seconds of fame are flocking to TikTok, but many of their parents are only now learning about the express-yourself video app — often to their dismay.

    The social network became the most downloaded on Apple’s App Store in the first half of this year according to market analysis firm Sensor Tower, beating out titans like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It was the most-downloaded free mobile app in Thailand on Jan 23, 2018, according to Wikipedia, although it came in at No.21 on Dec 23.

    “TikTok capitalises on short-term creative content that other platforms don’t encourage, by their design and community,”

    Yet critics say its surging popularity among young girls in particular exposes them to caustic comments and other potential abuse by their peers, while offering a choice hunting ground for sexual predators.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The most common forms of censorship the public doesn’t know about

    Amid all the discussion today about online threats, from censorship to surveillance to cyberwar, we often spend more time on the symptoms than on the underlying chronic conditions. If we want to make people around the world safer from an oppressive, weaponized internet, we need to get a bit nerdy and talk about internet standards.

    Most internet censorship today is only possible because the internet wasn’t designed to protect the privacy of your connections. It wasn’t private by design, so when censors came along, they pushed on an open door.

    Put simply, we should make internet protocols — the who, what, where of internet addresses — more private.

    Privacy makes selective censorship harder

    Improving standards doesn’t take magic — just prototyping, debating, consensus-building and implementing.

    Unfortunately, every time you visit a website, your computer first consults the DNS system without any encryption, allowing censors and snoopers to know the name of every website you visit. A new standard is emerging to encrypt DNS lookups.

    the W3C (another internet standards body) has been establishing a draft standard for Network Error Logging. This potentially helps address one of the trickiest challenges in tackling network interference: figuring out when interference is even happening.

    Network Error Logging allows the user’s device to report a failed lookup to a neutral third party that is not blocked

    If we’re serious about addressing those challenges, we need to start with improving standards.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Report: Most of the internet is fake, including its users

    If you think 2016 Russian disinformation was bad, that was just the tip of the iceberg. What if the entire internet is a fraud?

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    YouTube’s $100 Million Upload Filter Failures Demonstrate What A Disaster Article 13 Will Be For The Internet

    The entire Article 13 debate is a weird one. It appears that both the recording industry and the film industry are going for broke on this one. The lobbying on this started a few years back, with the rather clever but completely bogus idea of the “value gap.”

    The “lower rates” that YouTube pays must be the result of the safe harbor, and the difference in payments is the “value gap.” Article 13, then, is supposed to “fix” the value gap by completely removing any notice-and-takedown safe harbor for copyright-covered works.

    Of course, almost all of this is bullshit. YouTube is used in very, very different ways from Spotify and Apple Music.

    Meanwhile, Article 13 will do nothing to solve the “problem” that all the “value gap” people keep insisting is a problem. That’s because Article 13 will basically require an upload filter that will spot infringing works and block them before they get on the site (there’s more to it than that, but that’s a basic approximation of what the law will require in practice). Basically the only company that has actually done this already… is YouTube! YouTube has its ContentID system, which it has spent over $100 million developing, and which can block uploads and pull down content.

    And… let’s take a look at just how much damage such a system causes. Remember, YouTube has spent more on its filter than anyone else (by far) and it is considered easily the most sophisticated and advanced such filter.

    And it sucks.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mark Zuckerberg is ‘proud’ of how Facebook handled its scandals this year

    “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made,” he said in an end-of-year note posted on his Facebook page for everyone to see. Acknowledging that the social network played its part in the spread of hate speech, election interference and misinformation

    Zuckerberg’s tone-deaf remarks read like 1,000 words of patting himself on the back.

    But where the Facebook co-founder pledged to “focus on addressing some of the most important issues facing our community,” he conveniently ignored some of the most damaging, ongoing problems that the company has shown little desire to solve, opting instead for quick fixes or simply pretending they don’t exist.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What history could tell Mark Zuckerberg

    Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg obsessed over the wrong bit of history. Or else didn’t study his preferred slice of classical antiquity carefully enough, faced, as he now is, with an existential crisis of ‘fake news’ simultaneously undermining trust in his own empire and in democracy itself.

    A recent New Yorker profile — questioning whether the Facebook founder can fix the creation he pressed upon the world before the collective counter-pressure emanating from his billions-strong social network does for democracy what Brutus did to Caesar

    The ‘internet of the day’ would best resemble physical gatherings — markets, public baths, the circus — where gossip passed as people mingled. Though of course information could only travel as fast as a person (or an animal assistant) could move a message.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Calm down, America. China doesn’t have any real influence on Americans, or soft power sway

    Liu Xiaobiao says US media and culture have a stronger influence on the Chinese public than vice versa, despite claims to the contrary. A former US president was widely mourned in China recently, but could you imagine the opposite scenario?

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Al Jazeera:
    Bangladesh orders mobile operators to shut down high-speed mobile internet services to “prevent rumours and propaganda” ahead of national elections on Sunday

    Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet in lead up to election day

    The country’s telecom regulator say it ordered mobile operators to shut down 3G, 4G services until December 30 midnight.

    Bangladesh’s telecoms regulator has ordered mobile operators to shut down high-speed mobile internet services until midnight Sunday, the day of a national election.

    The measure is effective immediately, a spokesman for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said on Saturday.

    “The decision has been taken to prevent rumours and propaganda surrounding the vote,” Zakir Hussain Khan said.

    As Bangladeshis get set for Sunday’s parliamentary elections, there are fears that violence and intimidation could keep many voters away.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jennifer Ouellette / Ars Technica:
    Researchers used a series of auctions to find that it would take on average $1,000+ to entice users to deactivate their Facebook accounts for a year — Some users required more than $1,000 to deactivate their account for one year. … A series of auctions revealed that Facebook users value …

    Economists calculate the true value of Facebook to its users in new study
    Some users required more than $1,000 to deactivate their account for one year.

    A series of auctions revealed that Facebook users value the company’s service so highly that it would take on average more than $1,000 to convince them to deactivate their accounts for a year, according to a recent paper published in PLOS One. This doesn’t mean much for the company’s stock market valuation, but it’s a good indicator that people find value in Facebook regardless of the many concerns raised recently.

    “The value you place on something isn’t what you pay for it—it’s what you would be willing to pay.”

    The researchers typically study what people are willing to pay for things like genetically modified food, for instance, or cigarettes with graphic warning labels. But free online services like Facebook are harder to evaluate because there is no out-of-pocket cost to the user. That doesn’t mean people don’t value their accounts.

    . “[Facebook] doesn’t generate the typical kinds of economic measure we would normally use to evaluate a company’s value, and yet it’s consistently valued very high,” said Corrigan. “We’re trying to look at its value to society, specifically to the users.” That’s not something you can easily measure in dollars and cents. So instead of asking subjects what they’d be willing to pay for the service, they flipped it around and asked what they would have to be paid to stop using Facebook.

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Huawei reportedly punishes staff for New Year’s Eve tweet sent from an iPhone

    As predicted, Twitter’s subtle new feature showing from which clients tweets are sent is already embarrassing brands.

    Following on from a Korean boy band sponsored by LG and Apple’s own Music staff, Huawei is the latest to be embarrassed after it sent a New Year’s Eve message using an iPhone.

    the Huawei account had tweeted from an iPhone

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The UK Government Is Planning to Regulate Hate Speech Online
    But it might be setting itself up for failure

    It’s an ugly reality we see in every corner of the web: racism, bigotry, misogyny, political extremism. Hate speech seems to thrive on the internet like a cancer.

    It persists and flourishes on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit — they certainly don’t claim to welcome it, but they’re having a hell of a time keeping it in check. No AI is yet sophisticated enough to flag all hate speech perfectly, so human moderators have to join the robots in the trenches. It’s an imperfect, time-consuming process.

    As social media sites come under increasing scrutiny to root out their hate speech problem, they also come up against limits for how much they can (or will) do.

    The Home Office and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS)
    is drafting plans for regulation that would make platforms like Facebook and Twitter legally responsible for all the content they host, according to Buzzfeed News.

    But is this kind of government intervention really the right way forward when it comes to hate speech online? Experts aren’t convinced it is. In fact, some think it may even do more harm than good.

    The UK Government Is Planning To Set Up A Regulator For The Internet

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Journalists have limited time and resources. We focus scrutiny on the biggest and most powerful companies because the things they do have the deepest impact on the most people. Not more complicated than that.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dylan Byers / Byers Market:
    Sources: Facebook execs “fed up” with NYT coverage and frustrated by a sponsored post on how to leave Facebook; NYT EIC says coverage is separate from business

    Mark Zuckerberg vs. the Times

    What’s Next: Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives are fed up with The New York Times after weeks of what they see as overtly antagonistic coverage that betrays an anti-Facebook bias, several sources at the social media giant tell me.

    • The frustration was rekindled this week after the Times bought a sponsored post on Facebook to promote “a step-by-step guide to breaking up with” Facebook and Instagram

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lavanya Ramanathan / Washington Post:
    What may be lost as women’s magazines kill print editions: fact checkers, iconic editors, and outlets for some of the best female journalists

    Women’s magazines are dying. Will we miss them when they’re gone?

    In late November, Glamour came to the same conclusion reached by so many other women’s magazines these days: After 80 years in mailboxes and grocery store checkouts, it will stop publishing its glossy monthly, ending with the January issue. For Glamour, print is officially dead, the inexorable “pivot to digital” now complete.

    Teen Vogue, a junior version of the fashion bible, was already there.

    The magazine industry as a whole has been belt-tightening for years thanks to a print advertising famine, eliminating costly paper copies while trying to establish a beachhead on the Internet.

    The glossies were relatable, visually pleasing and useful all at once

    “At a time when mainstream media didn’t pay attention to issues that mattered to women, they were a place that could bring attention to those things,”

    “Glamour and some of the other women’s magazines were driving that change.”

    “This whole industry is on a wild roller-coaster ride,”

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    YouTube’s Biggest Stars Are Pushing a Shady Polish Gambling Site

    Paul and Bryan “Ricegum” Le are among the popular children’s entertainers promoting “mystery boxes” filled with supposed prizes the site says underage users are ineligible to win.

    Untold riches are promised on Mystery Brand, a website that sells prize-filled “mystery boxes.” If you buy one of the digital boxes, some of which cost hundreds of dollars, you might only get a fidget spinner—or you might get a luxury sports car.

    Or at least that’s what some top YouTubers have been telling their young fans about the gambling site—with the video stars apparently seeing that as a gamble worth taking, especially after a dip in YouTube advertising rates.

    Over the past week, hugely popular YouTube stars like Jake Paul and Bryan “Ricegum” Le have encouraged their fans to spend money on Mystery Brand, a previously little-known site that appears to be based in Poland.

    “Open the boxes,” Le says. “Get something good.”

    Mystery Brand’s terms of service appear to say that underage users are ineligible to receive prizes, or even their money back

    Mystery Brand users might not even receive the items they believed they have won, according to another part of the terms of service.

    “I was offered $100k to do the same & almost took the cash. (But didn’t),” Keem tweeted.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Censoring China’s Internet, for Stability and Profit

    Thousands of low-wage workers in “censorship factories” trawl the online world for forbidden content, where even a photo of an empty chair could cause big trouble.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WikiLeaks tells reporters 140 things not to say about Julian Assange

    WikiLeaks on Sunday advised journalists not to report 140 different “false and defamatory” statements about its founder Julian Assange

    It was not immediately clear what prompted the advice to media organizations

    The Australian set up WikiLeaks as a channel for publishing confidential information from anonymous sources.

    “Consequently journalists and publishers have a clear responsibility to carefully fact-check from primary sources and to consult the following list to ensure they are not spreading, and have not spread, defamatory falsehoods about WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.”

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    5 public speaking resolutions for 2019

    If one of your 2019 goals is to present at a tech conference, add these resolutions to your list.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Court: Politicians who block citizens on social media violate 1st Amendment

    4th Circuit: County official’s Facebook page is a public forum, must accept all.

    A federal appeals court in Virginia ruled unanimously Monday that a county official who blocked a citizen from accessing her official Facebook page is in violation of the First Amendment.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What TikTok Is Depends on Where TikTok Is

    If you’re looking for a window into contemporary youth culture, there is nothing better than TikTok. The social short-video app’s primary feature is copyright agreements that let users record themselves lip-syncing to popular music, but it also plays host to a rapidly flourishing meme ecosystem. Spend a modicum of time with its videos and you’ll notice recurring motifs: Fortnite dances, T-poses, salutes, kids tying nooses (made of toilet paper) around their necks. But most pervasive is that essential tradition of youth: irony.

    If you download TikTok and flip through the creative, lighthearted video clips trending on the app’s own network, you might feel relaxed. It’s just people goofing around and having fun, remixing soundbites and running jokes! TikTok can often seem like an oasis, a retreat from the more toxic sectors of the internet. The New York Times described it as “the only truly pleasant social network in existence.”

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sam Schechner / Wall Street Journal:
    Adviser to EU court backs Google, says search engines shouldn’t be forced to apply “right to be forgotten” beyond the bloc’s borders — Recommendation largely backs Google, which appealed a French order to apply the EU right to searches globally

    Google Nears Win in Europe Over ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

    Recommendation largely backs Google, which appealed a French order to apply the EU right to searches globally

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Casey Newton / The Verge:
    NYU and Princeton study of 3,500 US adults: 11% of those over 65 have shared a hoax article on Facebook, while just 3% of those 18 to 29 have done so

    People older than 65 share the most fake news, a new study finds
    And the finding holds true across party lines

    Older Americans are disproportionately more likely to share fake news on Facebook, according to a new analysis by researchers at New York and Princeton Universities. Older users shared more fake news than younger ones regardless of education, sex, race, income, or how many links they shared. In fact, age predicted their behavior better than any other characteristic — including party affiliation.

    The role of fake news in influencing voter behavior has been debated continuously since Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. At least one study has found that pro-Trump fake news likely persuaded some people to vote for him over Clinton, influencing the election’s outcome. Another study found that relatively few people clicked on fake news links — but that their headlines likely traveled much further via the News Feed, making it difficult to quantify their true reach.

    Across all age categories, sharing fake news was a relatively rare category. Only 8.5 percent of users in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site. Users who identified as conservative were more likely than users who identified as liberal to share fake news: 18 percent of Republicans shared links to fake news sites, compared to less than 4 percent of Democrats.

    It seems likely that a multi-pronged approach to reducing the spread of fake news will be more effective than trying to solve for only one variable.

    It seems likely that a multi-pronged approach to reducing the spread of fake news will be more effective than trying to solve for only one variable.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Marcela Kunova /
    Quartz’s AI Studio has developed bots to help journalists with data analysis tasks, using machine learning to identify patterns in records and more

    Quartz AI Studio launches an open-source platform to help journalists use machine learning

    The US publisher offers reporters with no coding skills a set of free tools to help them write better data-driven stories

    “Many journalists don’t even recognise what stories could benefit from machine learning. And when they do, they often wonder how to go about it.”

    Quartz AI Studio is planning on running some workshops and training courses in autumn 2019.

    “Journalist-programmers are an especially sharing lot,” wrote Keefe to introduce the bot.

    “Sure, they’ll work night and day to scoop each other, but once the story’s published they’re happy to share how they did it — even sharing the tools they built. As a result, there are many dozens of useful tools available to programmers in newsrooms everywhere.”

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EU Top Court Adviser: Google Can Limit Right to be Forgotten

    An adviser to Europe’s top court says Google doesn’t have to extend “right to be forgotten” rules to its search engines globally.

    The European Court of Justice’s advocate general released a preliminary opinion Thursday in the case involving the U.S. tech company and France’s data privacy regulator.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jlex Hern / The Guardian:
    Facebook’s fact-checking operation launches in the UK and partners with the independent charity Full Fact publisher to assess the accuracy of content

    Facebook rolls out fact-checking operation in UK

    Social network brings in independent charity in attempt to tackle misinformation

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scooter startup Bird tried to silence a journalist. It did not go well.

    Cory Doctorow doesn’t like censorship. He especially doesn’t like his own work being censored.

    Anyone who knows Doctorow knows his popular tech and culture blog, Boing Boing

    Doctorow revealed in a blog post on Friday that scooter startup Bird sent him a legal threat, accusing him of copyright infringement and that his blog post encourages “illegal conduct.”

    Doctorow declined, published the legal threat and fired back with a rebuttal letter from the EFF accusing the scooter startup of making “baseless legal threats” in an attempt to “suppress coverage that it dislikes.”

    The whole debacle started after Doctorow wrote about how Bird’s many abandoned scooters can be easily converted into a “personal scooter” by swapping out its innards with a plug-and-play converter kit.

    converter kit, available for purchase from China on eBay for about $30.

    The three-page rebuttal says Bird used incorrectly cited legal statutes to substantiate its demands for Boing Boing to pull down the blog post.

    it doesn’t bypass or modify Bird’s code — which copyright law says is illegal.

    Bird should not send takedown notices to journalists using “meritless legal claims,” the letter said.

    All too often, companies send legal threats and demands to try to silence work or findings that they find critical, often using misinterpreted, incorrect or vague legal statutes to get things pulled from the internet. Some companies have been more successful than others, despite an increase in awareness and bug bounties, and a general willingness to fix security issues before they inevitably become public.

    Now Bird becomes the latest in a long list of companies that have threatened reporters or security researchers

    That effort resulted in several companies — notably Dropbox and Tesla — to double down on their protection of security researchers by changing their vulnerability disclosure rules to promise that the companies will not seek to prosecute hackers acting in good-faith.


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