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Category Archives: Social Media

The State of Online Harassment

“Stories about online harassment have captured headlines for years. Beyond the more severe cases of sustained, aggressive abuse that make the news, name-calling and belittling, derisive comments have come to characterize how many view discourse online – especially in the political realm. A Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults in September finds that 41% of Americans have personally experienced some form of online harassment in at least one of the six key ways that were measured. And while the overall prevalence of this type of abuse is the same as it was in 2017, there is evidence that online harassment has intensified since then. To begin with, growing shares of Americans report experiencing more severe forms of harassment, which encompasses physical threats, stalking, sexual harassment and sustained harassment. Some 15% experienced such problems in 2014 and a slightly larger share (18%) said the same in 2017. That group has risen to 25% today. Additionally, those who have been the target of online abuse are more likely today than in 2017 to report that their most recent experience involved more varied types and more severe forms of online abuse. In a political environment where Americans are stressed and frustrated and antipathy has grown, online venues often serve as platforms for highly contentious or even extremely offensive political debate. And for those who have experienced online abuse, politics is cited as the top reason for why they think they were targeted…”

The Capitol Rioters Weren’t ‘Low Class’

The Atlantic – The business owners, real-estate brokers, and service members who rioted acted not out of economic desperation, but out of their belief in their inviolable right to rule: “They were business owners, CEOs, state legislators, police officers, active and retired service members, real-estate brokers [one of whom arrived in DC via private jet],… Continue Reading

How Amazon manipulates consumers to keep them subscribed to Amazon Prime

Report by Norway’s Consumer Council (NCC) / Forbrukerradet – YOU CAN LOG OUT, BUT YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE: “Executive summary In this report, we show how Amazon makes it unreasonably cumbersome to unsubscribe from the Amazon Prime service. The process of cancelling an Amazon Prime subscription is riddled with a combination of manipulative design techniques,… Continue Reading

How to Hold Social Media Accountable for Undermining Democracy

Harvard Business Review: “The problem with social media isn’t just what users post — it’s what the platforms decide to do with that content. Far from being neutral, social media companies are constantly making decisions about which content to amplify, elevate, and suggest to other users. Given their business model, which promotes scale above all,… Continue Reading

Switching to Signal? Turn on these settings now for greater privacy and security

ZDNet – “Many people are making the switch from WhatsApp to Signal. Many are switching because of the increased privacy and security that Signal offers. But with a few simple tweaks, did you know that you can make Signal even more secure? There are a few settings I suggest you enable. There are some cosmetic… Continue Reading

Can Anything Be Done to Rein In the President’s Speech?

The Atlantic – Trump’s words are dangerous, and society must find ways big and small to push back. August 2, 2020 Kate Shaw Professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “This president doesn’t speak like other presidents, that much is clear. Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has used the… Continue Reading

Questions to Guide an Investigation of the Capitol Attack

Just Security: “The invasion of the United States Capitol was an entirely predictable event, which makes the wholesale security collapse all the more unconscionable. Threats on social media grew more frequent and specific after President Donald Trump called on his supporters to gather in Washington, D.C., and push Congress to overturn the election results. Somehow… Continue Reading

Parler Users Breached Deep Inside U.S. Capitol Building, GPS Data Shows

Gizmodo: “At least several users of the far-right social network Parler appear to be among the horde of rioters that managed to penetrate deep inside the U.S. Capitol building and into areas normally restricted to the public, according to GPS metadata linked to videos posted to the platform the day of the insurrection in Washington.… Continue Reading

The Capitol riot and its aftermath makes the case for tech regulation more urgent, but no simpler

TechCrunch: “Last week and throughout the weekend, technology companies took the historic step of deplatforming the president of the United States in the wake of a riot in which the US Capitol was stormed by a collection of white nationalists, QAnon supporters, and right wing activists. The decision to remove Donald Trump, his fundraising and… Continue Reading

Experts explain how disinformation online helped fuel the attack on the Capitol

Poynter – How did we get here?: “The world changed last week after rioters infiltrated the U.S. Capitol building and disrupted our legislative and democratic process. It was an event most people did not see coming, but others have worried about for months, if not years. Disinformation and misinformation researchers, online content verification analysts and… Continue Reading