Gizmodo: Harassment, Transphobia, and Racism: A Look Inside Blind’s Anonymous Chatting Forum for Google Employees. “In early January, Google systems reliability engineer Liz Fong-Jones announced she was leaving the company after 11 years, leaving behind, by her account, a half million dollars in stock, to work at the startup Honeycomb.io. An outspoken advocate for inclusion and diversity, Fong-Jones quit citing dissatisfaction with leadership around ethics of products and working conditions…. On the anonymous discussion app Blind, some of Fong-Jones’ coworkers celebrated her departure in the private channel for Google employees.”
Search Engine Journal: Snapchat is Considering Making Public Posts Permanent. “Snapchat is reportedly considering the idea of introducing permanent photo and video posts. Also, in another stark contrast to what Snapchat is known for, the platform may also reveal identities of users who publish public posts.”
Fortune: Sarahah Founder Says New Anonymous Messaging App Won’t Devolve Into Toxicity. “Sarahah gained a huge following as an anonymous messaging app in 2017 until the inevitable happened — users started to bully and harass others. Now, Zain-Alabdin Tawfiq, Sarahah’s founder, is hoping to keep the toxicity at bay with a new messaging service under Sarahah’s umbrella. That free app, Enoff, unveiled on Thursday, is intended to combat harassment, among other things, rather than foster it.”
The Current: Anonymous Yet Trustworthy . “Minority and dissident communities face a perplexing challenge in countries with authoritarian governments. They need to remain anonymous to avoid persecution, but also must establish a trustworthy identity in their communications. An interdisciplinary group of researchers at UC Santa Barbara has designed an application to meet both of these requirements.”
Found on Academia.edu: Expressing and Challenging Racist Discourse onFacebook: How Social Media Weaken the “Spiral of Silence” Theory. “This article examines the discursive practices of Facebook users who use the platform to express racist views. We analyzed 51,991 public comments posted to 119 news stories about race, racism, or ethnicity on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Facebook page. We examined whether users who hold racist viewpoints (the vocal minority) are less likely to express views that go against the majority view for fear of social isolation. According to the ‘spiral of silence’ theory, the vocal minority would presumably fear this isolation effect. However, our analysis shows that on Facebook,a predominantly nonanonymous and moderated platform, the vocal minority are comfortable expressing unpopular views, questioning the explanatory power of this popular theory in the online context.” I had not heard of the Spiral of Silence theory, but Briannica helped me out.
Big Think: ‘The Journal of Controversial Ideas’ will launch in 2019. Is it dangerous?. “Three very famous philosophers are teaming up to create an academic journal dedicated to ideas too controversial to put a name on. As you might expect, the concept itself has already gathered controversy.”
Eyerys: Researchers Gave ‘Blurred Face’ Visual Anonymity An AI ‘Painting’ Approach. “Not limited to creating something astonishing and never seen before, AI can also improvise existing technologies, as researchers from SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) have demonstrated. Usually, blurring people’s faces for anonymity, like in the news, requires specialized software that tracks an area or multi-point areas, which adjust dynamically in shapes and sizes as the object moves. Researchers created an a way to replace this ‘blurring’ technique using AI.”