<pre><pre>The social media summit of the White House was full of hypocrisy - and comedy

In the White House today, amid concerns that conservative voices are being silenced by social media platforms, President Donald Trump (after a "& # 39; the morning of tweets (that) was off the rails, even according to its standards") Faced a group of activists to deliver a message of support." Some of you are extraordinary, " said the president. "The mess you come up with is unbelievable."

Unfortunately, as we discussed here yesterday, the band that conservative voices think of, does not always reach the maximum possible audience. Sometimes conservatives don't seem as high as they would like in the search results. Sometimes they are suspended or even banned. This has led to many conspiratorial thinking that the liberal-leaning Silicon Valley is giving them access in an effort to nip the scales of democracy.

Today, those conspirators gathered to complain about how social platforms limit their reach, in a controversial public event that included much of the media. It culminated with the president that he would soon bring representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter to the White House to reprimand them personally. Roberta Rampton and David Shepardson report:

During a meeting with conservative users of social media at the White House, Trump said he would "convene a large gathering of companies within a week or two – they should be here."

Trump said he would invite members of the US Congress to the meeting and added that he could also invite conservative users of social media. The White House refused to provide additional information.

Conservatives usually do everything they can to protect the free market against inappropriate government interference. But social networks are powerful enough that, in this case, the Republicans are planning to intervene.

What is less clear is what that intervention might look like. The President's remarks on this subject barely rise above babbling. ("For me, freedom of expression is not when you see something good and then write intentionally badly" he said today. "For me, that is a very dangerous speech, and you get angry about it. But that's not free speech. & # 39;

Elsewhere, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has proposed legislation requiring large social networks to treat every political opinion equally – which would be good news for the Nazis. But even in such a world, feed-based platforms will still have to rank and recommend content – and many conservative complaints revolve around the fact that they are not always at the top.

And the preference of one person is the personalization of another person. Twitter said on Thursday that it would test the possibility of leaving users in Canada hide answers to their tweets. How long does it take before the first conservative Canadian politician complains that they are shadowed when answering a viral tweet?

The truth is that moderation is necessary for platforms to perform, and any platform that controls mail will always encounter accusations of bias. To see this, you only had to look at … the social media summit itself. Participants were required to submit questions in advance, directing Jane Coaston from Vox.com to quote: "So their content is moderated?" In the meantime, an official live stream of the event had turned off comments. "Why am I being put on the shelf?" a joke that Ashley demanded Feinberg.

So yes, the hypocrisy was very thick in the White House today. But that was also the comedy. Because just as activists had gathered to complain about the unreliability of social platforms, Twitter took the opportunity to completely collapse. The service dropped an hour or so globally, the effect of a "configuration change," a spokesperson said.

While the president focuses on bias, social platforms such as Twitter seem to have a more pressing problem: dropout. Reddit also went down today; LinkedIn collapsed the day before; and Facebook and Instagram had a day out a week ago.

Like Rob Price signed up Business insider:

In the last twelve months, the amount of downtime suffered by Facebook services has skyrocketed, data shared with Business Insider by a failure monitoring service Down detector shows, which contributes to the frustration of 2.7 billion users worldwide, who rely on Facebook's services to do everything, from communicating with their friends to supporting their businesses and putting food on the table.

The downtime of Instagram over the first six months of 2019 has almost doubled compared to the same period last year, with a 90% jump. And for Facebook, the peak is even more serious – almost quadrupled, with a stroke of 281%.

I assume all of these glitches are unrelated – several security companies emailed to say that the current Twitter outage in particular showed no signs of an external attack. And yet it is hard for me not to anthropomorphize these platforms, looking at all the crying spells that they don't treat every user exactly the same in every situation, and collapsing in frustration. Temporary, universal de-platforming is an increasingly serious matter, as I wrote here last week. But I am sympathetic to every algorithm that today's social media summit perceived and wished that absolutely everyone would shut up.

Push back

On Tuesday I complained that I focused on policy writing instead of enforcement, Twitter was solving the wrong problem. A spokesperson wrote that the policy change was really necessary – previously the rules for hate speech only applied to tweets aimed at individuals. So according to the rules you could tweet: "Protestants are scum", for example, but not "Casey & # 39; s Protestant scum." Now both are not allowed, and that seems to be a good thing.

Democracy

France passes controversial tax on technology companies

Mon dieu! It seems likely that the United States will somehow take revenge here. Colin Lecher reports:

France has passed a controversial tax on "digital services" affecting US technology giants because the United States says they will investigate the plan.

Based on the bill, just adopted by the French Senate, tech companies with more than € 750 million in worldwide income and € 25 million in French income must pay a 3 percent tax on the total annual income from service to French users. The switch will affect major players such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, and is made as plans for EU-wide tax changes seemed to stop.

The YouTube candidate: how Joey Salads could make his way in the congress

Makena Kelly profiles Joey Saladino, resident of Staten Island hoping to bring his 2.5 million YouTube subscribers to a convention center:

Much of its early content was mostly harmless, piggybacking on television shows such as ABC's What Would You Do? to teach viewers valuable moral lessons. But as Joey's channel grew, the stakes and the shock value also played a role. He parked his car twice to see how spectators would react. He pretended to kidnap children (with parental consent) and frighten them, hoping that they would learn not to trust strangers. In 2016, Joey's video & # 39; s became increasingly political, useful when support for Donald Trump was winning in the polls. He continues to film himself with the text & # 39; Black Lives Matter & # 39; and & # 39; All Lives Matter & # 39; for supermarkets and attending Trump protests. This content has been migrated from YouTube to Twitter, where Joey has often criticized mainstream media and social media platforms because he is biased towards conservatives such as himself.

Bitcoin slips after the Fed president says Facebook & # 39; s cryptocurrency & # 39; serious concerns & # 39; calls

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell said the success of Libra could jeopardize the stability of the global financial system. The price of Bitcoin has subsequently fallen, Hamza Shaban reports:

On Wednesday, Powell confirmed that the Fed has its own reserves. "Although the sponsors of the project involve the possibility of public benefits, including improved financial access for consumers, Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability," he said. "These are issues that must be dealt with thoroughly and publicly before we proceed.

Bitcoin has dropped to $ 11,658 from Thursday morning, according to market data from Coindesk.

The technical industry is beginning to doubt whether Facebook will be able to launch its Libra currency by 2020

Sal Rodriguez talks to observers who are skeptical that Libra will get off the ground this year:

At least one early Facebook investor, Matt Ocko, is actively pushing towards regulators to stop Libra before it is launched.

"Many countries are genuinely crazy about the ruthless amoral Facebook vampire squid with its tentacles stuck in their country's control over coin and banking systems," he said. "I hope with God that enlightened supervisors kill this thing in its tracks."

How American Tech Giants help build China & # 39; s Surveillance State

Ryan Gallagher reports that a non-profit organization led by Google and IBM executives "works with Semptian, whose technology monitors the internet activity of 200 million people in China."

The OpenPower Foundation – a non-profit organization led by Google and IBM executives with the goal of stimulating & # 39; innovation & # 39; – has established a collaboration between IBM, the Chinese company Semptian and the American chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together they worked on the development of a series of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze huge amounts of data more efficiently.

Shenzhen-based Semptian uses the devices to improve the capabilities of internet monitoring and censorship technology that it offers to human rights people in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said his technology is being used to covertly track the internet activity of 200 million people.

Chinese technology companies are coming for American influences

Lucas Shaw reports that China is looking for one of our most valuable national sources:

Tencent, owner of the all-purpose Chinese app WeChat, is trying to encourage more American social media stars to do business in & # 39; the world's number 2 economy. The opening panel of the event is entitled "How Tencent can help influencers in China." They have a head start on YouTube to enter the fast-growing market: Googlevideo service in the country is blocked.

The reviving interest in American content coincides with a period of intense competition in & # 39; the world's largest online arena. The popularity of Douyin, China & # 39; s equivalent of TikTok, has shocked the Chinese technology industry and companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., search leader Baidu Inc. and Tencent are forced to defend their turf.

Elsewhere

Here you can read how you can stop data companies from targeting advertisements on Facebook

Katie Notopolous reports on a positive change that Facebook is making to help people understand which ads they see. (Here is the blog post of the company on the same subject.)

Facebook has launched a transparency tool this week that gives people a little more information about how the targeted ads work (good!). You can now see more information about why you see an ad in your feed, how it is associated with an advertising agency or data broker, and how you can opt out of interest-based advertising campaigns conducted by companies that have your data. The bad news is that if you look at it, it will only make you worse how your data is transferred external data brokers – credit rating agencies and marketing agencies – such as Halloween sweets.

Previously, Facebook provided very limited information about why advertisements appear in your feed ("You are an existing customer" or "H&M wants to reach women 16 and older who live in the United States"). It has not really explained that advertising targeting is much more advanced than just identifying age and location.

Traders in the wild Use Facebook, Instagram to find buyers of black markets

Kurt Wagner reports on Facebook's consistent problem in controlling illegal animal sales:

The sting was possible through Facebook, which researchers have always discovered, followed and communicated with Ahamed, who was eventually sentenced to two years in prison. But Facebook also helped to create the problem – the huge reach of the social network has made it an attractive tool for animal traders, while at the same time making it difficult for the company to track and block them. Facebook, which did not participate in the turtle's bust, grabs messages when they are reported, but until recently has done little to actively hunt and stop trading on its own. That allowed illegal wildlife trade to continue on Facebook and Instagram, according to conversations with nearly a dozen researchers and academics.

Social networks and online market places have long been the pivot of illegal activities, including exotic animal trade. Smugglers use the platforms as digital billboards, often sharing photos and videos of their products for users around the world to see. On Facebook and Instagram, it is common for traffickers to place their WhatsApp or WeChat numbers next to their goods, a signal to potential buyers to connect in a more private forum. From orangutans and cheetah cubs to opioids and old antiques from the Middle East, if something can be sold illegally, researchers say, it's probably being sold somewhere on Facebook or Instagram.

Reddit & # 39; s & # 39; Manosphere & # 39; and the challenge of Quantifying Hate

Emma Gray Ellis reports on a new article about analyzing heterogynic subreddits:

The most striking findings will be an approval check for many women who spend time online. You are not a snowflake: misogynistic rhetoric has increased in frequency and violence, especially since 2016. It has also changed in tone and type. In 2011, human rights activists focused on issues such as male mental health or a biased prejudice against men in family law. Today, they focus on feelings of deprivation (such as & # 39; kushless & # 39; or & # 39; being involuntarily celibate & # 39;) and on turning feminist stories to adjust their own interests (I don't suppress you, you suppress me!). The study also showed that hatred for women and violent language occur together and that posters that showed violent hatred for women often also led to reports of violent racism or homophobia.

All answer: "Louder"

The Reply All team takes into account the case of Carlos Maza versus YouTube. I look forward to listening to this on my commute today.

HQ Claims Player has violated his rules by refusing to pay out a $ 20K Jackpot

Shira Feder has the latest grim news from HQ:

When the semi-professional poker player became Jeopardy champion Alex Jacob tweeted that he had not paid the $ 20,000 he had won at headquarters, the social media outrage against the endangered trivia app was fast. Payment was not.

Jacob, who did not respond to a request for comment, received more than 1,000 retweets on his request to be paid, but he was not the only one who became stiff.

Twitter takes on a diversity problem with a new technical internship program for women and minorities

Salvador Rodriguez reports on a new step that Twitter is taking to diversify its staff:

"The Twitter Engineering Apprenticeship Program is an opportunity for people from non-traditional technical backgrounds to experience technology on Twitter," the company said in a vacancy for the program. "We believe that the people who build Twitter should be representative of those who use the platform, this includes people with backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in technology such as women, black, Latinx, Indian, etc., to name just a few. "

Who listens when you talk to your Google assistant?

Tom Simonite reports that a Belgian broadcaster has somehow received recordings of more than 1,000 conversations with Google's automated assistant:

Most of the recordings that were assessed by the VRT, including the recordings that refer to the Waasmunster pair, were intended; for example, users asked for weather information or porn videos. WIRED reviewed transcripts of the files shared by VRT, which published a report on his findings on Wednesday. In about 150 of the recordings, the broadcaster says that the assistant appears to have been activated incorrectly after he has heard his wake word incorrectly.

Some of those took excerpts from phone calls and private conversations. They contain announcements that someone needed the bathroom and what seemed like discussions about personal topics, including the growth rate of a child, how a wound healed, and someone's love life.

The families who use Slack, Asana, Trello and Jira

Taylor Lorenz and Joe Pinsker report that workaholic Americans now use professional productivity tools to keep track of their families – at least for a short time:

For Peder Fjällström, using Slack at home was primarily a fun experiment. A former app designer who lives in Stockholm and starts a Kombucha brand, Fjällström, was initially enthusiastic about using the software at home a few years after he adopted it at work: he created tailor-made tools in the program that members of his family adds an item to the shopping list if something runs out, reports "bugs" in the house (such as a broken device) and determines the current location of the children (drawn from the Find My iPhone app). On occasion, Slack was also a way for Fjällström and his wife to call their two children to eat.

But the Slack experiment lasted only three or four months – the kids soon came up with the idea of ​​apps that & # 39; nicer & # 39; goods. After some thought, Fjällström concluded that the use of Slack with his family made family life feel more like work. "It helped at the time because it felt like life was a bit messy … but life should be a bit messy." There are things, he acknowledges, that productivity software does not optimize, such as carving out quality of family time and allowing children to "feel all emotions." "That's what we're aiming for right now," he said, "no structure."

launches

Google makes another social network with a shoelace

Google turned many of these miniature social networks a lot – remember intrigant? But it has been a while since we have seen something like Shoelace. Sam Rutherford reports that it is currently only available in New York City:

Developed by the Google experiment Area 120 product development workshop, Shoelace is a hyper-local social networking app (available on Android and iOS) that focuses on connecting people based on shared interests in specific events and personal activities. In short, Shoelace looks like a social network that encourages people to spend less time on their phones and more time doing something, something in real life.

With Shoelace, users can & # 39; Loops & # 39; – like the loops on a shoelace, you know? – which are in fact lists of events that can be shared with others on the app, with the additional purpose of helping people make a new friend or two.

takes

& # 39; Love Island & # 39; is a lesson in surveillance

Sarah Jeong reflects on lessons from what she & # 39; a reality show that is roughly described as a cross between & # 39; calls The Bachelor and the Stanford Prison Experiment. "

"Love Island" serves as a warning story about how quickly the expectation of privacy will crumble with ubiquitous monitoring. But reality shows – including the appropriately named "Big Brother" – are not really allegories about the surveillance state.

The Love Islanders can eventually go home. We must fear how our liberties and our own behavior will be distorted by the proliferation of cameras on every street corner, on every dashboard of the car and in every pocket.

And finally …

It looks like a lake made for Instagram. It is a dump for chemical waste.

Sometimes a news story about a technological platform comes along and it is so metaphorically resonant that you hardly know where to start. Thanks for this, Andrew E. Kramer:

The site, a lake in Siberia, has become this & # 39; n lottery for people posting on Instagram this summer entire social media pages & # 39; s are committed to its charms.

There is only one problem: the lake is a man-made waste location for a power station, heating and electricity station number 5. And that irresistible blue hue is not the color of pristine waters reflecting off the sky, but rather the deposits of calcium salts and metal oxides, according to the electricity company that runs the installation.

Fake news, meet more news. See you in a few weeks!

Talk to me

Send me tips, comments, questions, and recommendations for things to do in Seattle: casey@theverge.com.