Social media had all the appearance of a democratic revolution, hailed after the Arab Spring as the power of the people. But there’s now a growing army of government and corporate propagandists seeking to control and influence opinion. Has social media become a threat to democracy? Or is it still the voice of freedom? Lyse Doucet, Carl Miller, Steve Richards and Caspar Melville discuss.
Tag Archives | Social Media
Every 6 months, Twitter releases a statement that outlines government requests for information on its users. They’ve released their latest report, though it has been heavily redacted.
In October, Twitter sued the US government “to allow it to release more information (the case is still pending), and today, the government allowed Twitter to publish a heavily redacted version of a letter the company drafted to inform its users about surveillance requests.”
Tim Cushing writes at Techdirt:
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The TSA is disappointed that so few Americans have opted out of its bottle-tossing, package-groping screenings by signing up for its PreCheck program. For a few years now, the TSA has been selling travelers’ civil liberties back to them, most recently for $85 a head, but it’s now making a serious push to increase participation. The TSA can’t do it alone, so it’s accepting bids on its PreCheck expansion proposal. (h/t to Amy Alkon)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is seeking vendors for TSA Pre√® Application Expansion initiative to develop, deliver, and deploy private sector application capabilities expanding the public’s enrollment opportunities for TSA Pre✓® through an Other Transactional Agreement (OTA) awarded by TSA. The Government plans to award an OTA to multiple vendors. The Government will evaluate the proposed ready-to-market solutions’ application capabilities against this TSA Pre√® Expansion Initiative Solicitation and Statement of Work.
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Welcome back to the World Policy “Best of” list. Today we pull back the curtain on the Egyptian revolution and reveal its somewhat dark underbelly. Political activist Mahmoud Salem, who tweets under the name “sandmonkey,” shares how the introduction of social media into Egyptian culture sparked the Egyptian revolution where he played a seminal social media role. At the same time, these same tools now jeopardize the creation of any political infrastructure capable of governing effectively.
By Mahmoud Salem
CAIRO, Egypt—As a child of the 1980s, I grew up watching science fiction television shows and movies—all set in the “not-so-distant future.” Holographic communication, teleportation, and flying cars were central tenets of that universe. And while I marveled at the prospect of these technologies, I was most fascinated by the “magical technological device”—that could be used to complete any task, from basic communication to dissemination of news to national security.
via Pando Daily:
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Instagram recently decided to permanently delete many of the spam accounts it’s discovered on its service. The move was meant to help the network remain “authentic” because “it’s a place where real people share real moments,” Instagram said at the time. But apparently some of the users affected by this decision aren’t happy about its impact.
Business Insider reports “thousands of people” have reached out to Instagram asking it to restore their old follower counts in the wake of what it calls the “Instagram Rapture.” This despite Instagram’s warning that follower counts would change as the result of its New Year’s cleaning — and the fact that those followers were little more than spam bots.
This is in keeping with what some have suspected about Instagram for a while. For example, I argued last year that the addition of video features to the service wasn’t about communication, like co-founder Kevin Systrom said, but about its users’ narcissism:
Instagram is still very much about presentation.
By Bjorn Nansen, University of Melbourne; James Meese, University of Melbourne; Martin Gibbs, University of Melbourne; Michael Arnold, University of Melbourne, and Tamara Kohn, University of Melbourne
Media technologies have operated as both a means of communicating news of a death and memorialising the deceased for a significant period of time, moving from traditional epitaphs, eulogies, wakes and inscription in stone to centuries-old obituaries printed and circulated in newspapers. So where are we now?
Digital commemoration emerged as the internet became readily accessible and an integral part of people’s communicative practices. Initially, during the 90s, it took the form of memorial websites hosted by the families and friends of the deceased.… Read the rest
Dr. Oz opened up a can of worms on Twitter yesterday. He asked the Twitter community for health questions and some of the responses are great. Don’t you love it when social media gimmicks backfire?
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) November 11, 2014
— Anti Foodbabe (@antifoodbabe) November 11, 2014
— Chow Babe (@Chow_Babe) November 11, 2014
— Victoria (@victoriavarone) November 11, 2014
#ozsinbox We love your magic tricks and props. Will you perform for our local school?
— Leah McGrath, RD (@LeahMcGrathRD) November 12, 2014
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Hey @DrOz When do you think people will learn to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?
via Activist Post:
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What is the point of a social network that doesn’t share your content with friends and followers? Oh, yeah, for profit, government spying, emotional experiments and now, political manipulation.
Since they went public, Facebook has been playing with their algorithms to prevent “viral” content from occurring naturally in favor of charging users to show content to their followers. This profit-seeking strategy destroyed the only thing that made Facebook useful. Now it seems to serve as little more than an oversized telephone or IM app. But underneath, in the shadows, it’s still so much more than that.
Mother Jones reports that Facebook has been conducting stealthy political experiments on users, including tweaking the news feeds of almost 2 million users to boost articles shared from the top 100 media outfits. The purpose was to test voter turnout in the 2012 election.
As Huffington Post summarizes:
Facebook quietly tweaked the news feeds of 1.9 million users before the 2012 election so they would see more “hard news” shared by friends.
via The Atlantic:
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Through likes and comments, I’ve watched my hometown of Perry, Ohio, disappear into and come back from heroin addiction.
The U.S. is facing a massive heroin epidemic, and nowhere is it more evident than in Ohio, where fatal drug overdoses surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in 2007, and increased by 60 percent from 2011 to 2012. Addicts in rehabilitation say heroin is the easiest drug to find. State legislators have called for Republican Governor John Kasich to declare the prevalence of heroin a public-health emergency, and in May he agreed to an Obamacare Medicaid expansion largely because the state badly needed the federal help in funding treatment for heroin addiction.
Perry, Ohio, is a microcosm of the epidemic, which is now infiltrating upper-middle-class suburbs. Thirty minutes east of Cleveland, the town of 1,500 has a median annual income $31,000 higher than that of Ohio overall, but it also lacks opportunities for young adults to start their lives.
via Ars Technica:
Ello, the notably stripped-down, ad-free social network, announced Thursday that it has taken $5.5 million in venture capital and re-incorporated as a “Public Benefit Corporation.”
The company’s founders and investors also published a one-page document in which they declared:
- Ello must never make money from selling ads
- Ello must never make money from selling user data
- In the event that Ello is ever sold, the new owners would also have to comply by these terms
So how is Ello going to make money? Even its investors don’t know.