From time to time Twitter thinks about things. And then they keep thinking about them for a long time.
They thought about destroying third-party applications for six years, and when it finally decided to act, it only went on halfway through.
It was about banning Alex Jones and then decided not to, and then held a meeting where it is the nature of & # 39; dehumanizing speech & # 39; discussed, and subsequently banned Alex Jones, and then asked users for their input.
He thought about changing "the essence of how Twitter works, "And I mostly discussed this idea on podcasts last summer and then released a beta program with answers. (The core review is likely to continue.)
Anyway, today came the news that Twitter is thinking of getting rid of the many vocal white supremacists on the platform. Jason Koebler and Joseph Cox talk to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter & # 39; s head of trust and safety, legal and public policy, about the company's recent discussions with academic researchers on the subject:
"We are working with them specifically on white nationalism and white supremacy and radicalization online and understand the motives of those things; What role can a platform like Twitter play in making things worse or better?" She said.
"Is it the right approach to de-platform these individuals? Is the right approach to trying to make contact with these people? How should we think about this? What actually works?" She added.
On the one hand, it's great that Twitter is asking these questions. On the other hand, as various academics quoted ViceThe piece will tell you that it is difficult to take something seriously.
When motherboard described the plans of Twitter on the phone, two of the academics laughed before they responded.
"That's wild," says Becca Lewis, who is researching networks of extreme right-wing influencers on social media for the non-profit organization Data & Society. "There is a tendency to be too late in launching research projects at the moment. People have been literally talking about this for years."
"I mean, these quotes are a disaster, I'm going to be honest," said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, a progressive group investigating conservative disinformation. "The idea that they are now seriously looking at this issue, as opposed to the past, points to the insensitivity with which they have approached this issue on their platform."
I understand that it is easy – too easy, honest – to immerse yourself in Twitter on such things. And it is better that the company provides lip service to combat white supremacy on its platform than anything.
But the point is – it's just one few little better than nothing. Because reading Twitter & # 39; s ongoing proclamations about what might one day change about itself, you get the feeling that the company is looking for credit in the court of public opinion for its good intentions. And if there is anything that we have learned about the impact of social networks on society, then good intentions just don't matter.
So what could the company do instead?
An obvious answer: Twitter could enforce its own rules. While Gadde is looking for an academic confirmation that removing Nazis from the platform is a good and useful thing to do, the fact remains that they should not be there in the first place. Recall interview with Jack Dorsey this January Rolling stone:
BRIAN HIATT: Technically, it is not a reason for removal to be a white nationalist, right? Someone has to create specific threats?
JACKET DORSEY: That's it actually. If they join a violent extremist group, such as the American Nazi party, we will suspend their account. There are no self-proclaimed Nazis. If you can show them, I would like to see them and find out why we have not taken action against them, but …
I can confirm that there are Nazis on Twitter.
Many of the calls for "remove the Nazis" are also due to the fact that our enforcement is working on reporting. Many people do not report. They see things, but it's easier to tweet off "get rid of the Nazis" than to report it.
This conflict is at the heart of the problems with Twitter. In an interview, a manager will quickly brag about the intellectual rigor with which the company approaches fact-not-that-difficult questions about what to do with users who prefer different degrees of genocide to achieve their political goals. And in another, the CEO will acknowledge that in principle the question has already been resolved, but the company lacks the technical competence to find all bad actors on its platform.
In the Dorsey interview, he further said that Twitter should be more proactive in finding white nationalists. It's a good idea, now five months old, and we've heard nothing about concrete steps that Twitter could take to implement it. Instead, as always, the company wants to think again. And while I understand why the academics have quoted it ViceThe article laughs, I can't say I think it's all so funny.
From time to time Twitter thinks about things. And then they keep thinking about them for a long time.
In yesterday's issue, I endorsed Alexios Mantzarlis' suggestion that Facebook should tell people that the distorted Pelosi video was fake, rather than just that "additional reporting was available." A smart person wrote to remind me that when Facebook actually tagged content as fake, people would rather share it.
House Speaker and distorted video star Nancy Pelosi had strong words for Facebook yesterday in the aftermath of her decision not to remove digitally altered videos that seem to show she is slurping her words:
"We've always said, bad Facebook, they were unknowingly exploited by the Russians. I think consciously, because at the moment they're imposing something that they know is untrue. I think it's wrong," she said. "I can … But (Facebook is lying) to the public."
Pelosi added: "I think they have proven – by not removing something that they know is not true – that they were willing to allow the Russian interference in our election."
Everyone has a content policy plan until the Nazis actually appear. Ben Makuch and Jordan Pearson report on the social network Minds:
In the neo-Nazi Minds group with more than 350 followers who were not banned, images are currently visible with images of hateful and neo-Nazi content, while some messages were hidden behind an age block. One post that seems to blame someone as a & # 39; racist traitor & # 39 ;, is clearly visible. Minds content policy says that doxing is a reason for a ban.
"The extreme right is always looking for loopholes in content policy when it comes to propaganda and encouraging violence. The variable is where social media companies draw the line and decide they don't want to help in this endeavor," Joshua Fisher-Birch, of the Counter Extremism Project, Motherboard told in an email.
Megha Rajagopalan reports that US companies, including IBM, are helping to build Chinese surveillance systems in the United Arab Emirates:
With a recent government organized conference about artificial intelligence in Dubai, representatives of technology companies including Huawei, who recently blacklisted the Trump government as a threat to national security, China & Hikvision and IBM, said they were the UAE and other countries in the Persian Gulf saw market as an exciting event to sell their video analysis platforms, which they say they can do anything from analyzing the behavior of groups to automatically blacklisting individuals based on their faces .
Other governments in the Persian Gulf, such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, also use mobile phone hacking and other high-tech surveillance measures to monitor and intimidate dissidents, including exiles. The UAE has in the meantime invested money in developing its monitoring capabilities.
Patrick Klepek reports:
Carl "Sargon of Akkad" Benjamin, a YouTube figure who rebelled against feminism during the Gamergate movement, will not become part of the European Parliament. Benjamin ran as part of the far-right UKIP party, a group that focused almost exclusively on racist anti-immigration policy. UKIP did particularly badly, according to BuzzFeed, after their attempt to inject energy into the movement by recruiting loud voices from the internet.
The idea of a shareholder proposal at a company where the founder and CEO have majority voting control is that it usually does not go far. Kurt Wagner and Paula Dwyer report on the latter:
There is a problem with Goodridge's plan: she cannot present her proposal at Thursday's meeting to limit Zuckerberg's monopolistic voting power because Zuckerberg has monopolistic voting rights. He controls 88% of these more powerful shares, which gives him almost 58% of the voting power of Facebook. To change Facebook's voting structure and regain some of Zuckerberg's control, Goodridge needs the support of the only man who has the most to lose by changing it.
That is why, before one of the votes is added, Goodridge knows that she will fail for the fifth time.
Great headline – Facebook engagement is still fairly healthy, but it is declining. (By the way, it seems strange to predict the involvement of a social app for two years. Who knows what has been launched by then?)
Involvement with Facebook will decrease or remain flat in the near future, according to a new report from eMarketer.
The daily time spent on Facebook fell by 3 minutes in 2018 among US users, the company said. Users spent an average of 201 minutes a day on the platform in 2018, the report reports, from 41 minutes a day in 2017. eMarketer expects that usage in 2020 will continue to decline to 37 minutes a day and remain the same in 2021.
Twitch temporarily suspends new makers from streaming after a troll attack
People created new accounts to broadcast porn and murder Twitch, so Twitch began limiting streaming privileges, reports Julia Alexander:
The streaming service artifact category was supported by trolls throughout the weekend, allegedly the first to flee to the section as a way to participate in a recent meme. artifact, a card game developed by Valve, was recently called the least popular game on Twitch. Twitch users, and the wider gaming community, have underestimated the malfunction of the game for months, both before and after Valve announced it was take the time to redesign the title at the end of March. But this weekend this changed with a flood of new streams using the low visibility of the category to stream content that violates Twitch's policies.
Twitch 's statement confirmed that they "know a number of accounts that focus on the artifact gamemap "during the weekend. Twitch & # 39; s team also recognized that trolls used the" category to share content that grossly violates our terms of service. "Most of the accounts that were" shared and viewed content automated ".
CrossFit storms Facebook and Instagram and cites a long list of grievances
There are few things that I like to read about brands that rush into social media, so thanks CrossFit:
CrossFit, the brand's training schedule, removed its Facebook and Instagram pages earlier this week and explained the reasoning by a passionate press release. The announcement lists several reasons for the unlimited suspension of his accounts, including allegations that Facebook News Feeds are "censored and manufactured to reflect the political preferences of Facebook's utopian socialists."
The problem stemmed from the cancellation of a Facebook group in South Africa, Banting 7-day meal plans, which the company says it happened without warning or explanation. The group, which is not related to CrossFit, but has 1.6 million members and endorses the benefits of a carbohydrate-restricted, high-fat diet such as CrossFit & # 39; s recommended diet plan, has since been reintroduced. But the damage was done and the deletion was the final straw alongside CrossFit & # 39; s caution about how Facebook handles user data.
Susie Cagle profiles a company that has set up a gigantic database of banned bar staff, which alerts civil liberties lawyers. It is interesting to see how China-style social credit systems evolve in America; see this too CNET piece on Uber prohibits customers with low scores.
The same report indicates that PatronScan collected and saved information about more than 10,000 customers in Sacramento in one day. Within a period of five months that was good for more than 500,000 bargoers. PatronScan progress to have a networked list of more than 40,000 banned customers, many of whom may not even know what their eighty-fixed status is, until they try to access another bar that falls under the system.
For some spectators, the PatronScan product raises a number of concerns about privacy, surveillance and discrimination. PatronScan's reports show that the company has registered where customers live, the family demographics for that area, how far each customer has traveled to a bar and how many different bars they have visited. According to the company's own policy, the company shares the information it collects about patrons, both forbidden and not, at the request of the police. In addition to selling his kiosks to individual bars and nightlife, PatronScan also advertises directly to cities, suggesting that they require the adoption of their service.
There is now a portal app, so you can call your Facebook portal from your home if you are not near your portal!
What are game developers doing on Facebook these days? I have never seen one in the course of time:
Facebook game players will soon see more ads linked to in-game rewards. The social media platform gives publishers more opportunities to generate income with their mobile games. Developers can now display in-app "rewarded video" ads and advertise their games with examples shown directly in News Feed.
In the wake of Pelosi's video controversy, Farhad Manjoo says that Fox News should worry us more than Facebook:
What Facebook also decides to do with this weird video is of great significance, because if you were to arrange the samples of misinformation that American society is now seeing, amateurishly manipulated viral videos would invade us as mere houseflies. center. Worries about them, sure, but not the risk of overseeing a more obvious and present danger, the million pounds, forked tongue colossus that dominates our misinformation menagerie: Fox News and the far-reaching, platform-independent lie machine that dedicates it.
And that is exactly what happened last week. By following Facebook, many observers forgot about the realm of Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox Business spin-off was broadcast as much misleading Pelosi hit on "Lou Dobbs Tonight." This was upside down. Although new-fashioned digital manipulations should give cause for concern, they are still emerging threats in the long termand social networks are experimenting at least with ways to reduce their negative impact on society. But we don't have much hope or good ideas for limiting the lies of old media such as Fox News, which still commands the full and slavish attention of tens of millions of Americans every night, polluting the public square with big and small lies that often ricochet across any platform, starting from cable to YouTube to Facebook to Google, drowning us all in an infinite flood of fakery.
Here are some clever thoughts about misinformation from one of my favorite new newsletters:
If you look at the spam problem long enough and squeeze a little bit, it starts to look like the fake news problem. Replace Eudora with Facebook and Nigerian princesses with trolling by some Russian government, and you have a system where the cost of distributing material is cheaper and the whole thing flies off the wheel. This is not really a new way of thinking and I will credit some tweets from Benedict Evans (who ironically blocked me on Twitter) for some of the terminology I use here.
Anyway. It is normal to think that the earlier approaches should also work on this problem; 1) centralize to get better data and leverage (i.e. a tweak solves everything) 2) apply machine learning. Rinse, repeat. Simple enough, really.
And finally …
Twitter is looking for a & # 39; master in the art of Twitter & # 39; to become Tweeter in Chief
Whoever hires them cannot do worse than the current one, who personally attacked me on Wednesday:
For your information: there is an Edit button. (In your head)
– Twitter (@Twitter) May 29, 2019
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