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Category Archives: Social Media

United States of America, General Elections, 3 November 2020: Interim Report

Politico: “The first 2020 U.S. election report by international observers makes for sober reading, Ryan Heath emails us. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — which has 47 member countries including the U.S. — has deployed 30 experts around the U.S. to monitor all aspects of the election through October. While that’s well short of the 500 the organization hoped to bring (thanks Covid-19!), they’ll be joined by another 100 members of Parliament for the week of Election Day, Nov. 3. Among the report’s observations: Around 9.8 million Americans citizens can’t vote for their representatives. “Citizens resident in the District of Columbia and in U.S. territories are not fully represented in the Congress,” the report notes. “Some 5.2 million citizens, about half of whom have served their sentences, are disenfranchised due to criminal convictions. These restrictions disproportionally affect racial minorities.” In addition, “campaign expenditure is unrestrained” — thanks to court decisions and lack of a Federal Election Commission quorum — and will total around $11 billion. OSCE concluded that although America’s news media is “highly polarized,” the country’s 1,758 television stations, 15,460 radio stations and 1,300 news print publications help us wade through rising misinformation…”

Taking Back Our Privacy

The New Yorker – Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of the end-to-end encrypted messaging service Signal, is “trying to bring normality to the Internet. “…Marlinspike is the C.E.O. of Signal, the end-to-end encrypted messaging service, which he launched in 2014; he is also a cryptographer, a hacker, a shipwright, and a licensed mariner…Marlinspike believes that encrypted-communication… Continue Reading

Politics, Polarization and the Pandemic: Which Media Sources Can You Trust?

“Since the outbreak began, news about Covid-19 has been subject to political manipulation and misinformation, and it continues to spread today. Making matters more complex, we all inevitably bring our own implicit biases or “motivated reasoning” in determining what news and information to believe and what to discount as propaganda from “the other side.” This… Continue Reading

State of the Facts 2020: 37% of Americans say it’s harder to find facts since the pandemic began

AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (October, 2020). “State of the Facts 2020: COVID-19.” Topline Results Report “Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are still paying close attention, but few have trusted sources for factual information. Over half of Americans are paying close attention to information related to the virus these days. But 43%… Continue Reading

Why Social Media Is So Good at Polarizing Us [includes a 4.24 min video which is free to watch] – Mathematicians are teaming up with political scientists to create models of how social media divides us, and results suggest at least one popular solution might actually make the problem worse. “Americans are more polarized than ever—at least by some measures. A growing body… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 18, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, October 18, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly… Continue Reading

The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation

The New York Times – The First Amendment in the age of disinformation. “…The United States is in the middle of a catastrophic public-health crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus. But it is also in the midst of an information crisis caused by the spread of viral disinformation, defined as falsehoods aimed at… Continue Reading

Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths and Why People Believe Them

Scientific American – From a human-made virus to vaccine conspiracy theories, we rounded up the most insidious false claims about the pandemic. Because the pathogen first emerged in Wuhan, China, President Donald Trump and others have claimed, without evidence, that it started in a lab there, and some conspiracy theorists believe it was engineered as… Continue Reading

Your guide to following the election on social media

Washington Post – From misinformation to fast-changing maps, here’s how to understand election results and navigate social media. “The experts agree: The best way to accurately track election results, and avoid falling for misinformation between now and Election Day, is to avoid too much social media. Stick with a handful of reputable news sources and… Continue Reading

The Urgent Need for Expiration Date of Personal Information in the Cyberspace

Ogbuefi, Nnubia, RTBF: The Urgent Need for Expiration Date of Personal Information in the Cyberspace (April 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or “The internet is an information highway that remembers all our deeds and transgressions. It keeps track of all information posted online and recalls this information when there is a search for… Continue Reading

7 ways to avoid misinformation about the election

Poynter: “As Election Day approaches, you may be more likely to see online disinformation that’s aimed at influencing your vote. This year, we’ve fact-checked dozens of false claims on social media about the candidates. Other events — the coronavirus pandemic, nationwide protests against police brutality and natural disasters — have created an even more fertile environment for… Continue Reading