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.”
Lifehacker: Why You Need an Anonymous Social Media Account. “Being online has never been more embarrassing. People are renting 10 minutes of time on private jets for the ‘gram. The most innocuous and best-meaning of posts can spark outrage. You can’t talk to someone on a plane without it becoming a viral story that leads to harassment. The president tweets. But there’s a lot of good stuff too, of course, which makes it hard to log off completely. That’s why I humbly suggest creating anonymous accounts—Instagram and Tumblr are my preferred platforms—to escape it all.” As the article notes, this is not anonymity for the sake of being a jerk. This is anonymity so you can enjoy and reblog what you want without being joy or culture shamed.
Wired: Twitter’s vast metadata haul is a privacy nightmare for users. “Metadata is everywhere. Everything you tweet, every picture you take, and every status update you post on Facebook. It’s used by police and security forces to identify people who try to hide their identities and locations, while associated metadata in selfies can inadvertently ensnare criminals unaware that the data can destroy their alibi. And metadata on Twitter can also be used in extremely precise identification each and every one of us – according to a new paper by researchers at University College London and the Alan Turing Institute.”
WUOM: Anonymity drives ‘dark patterns’ of social media behavior. “A new study by a Michigan State University researcher probes the mechanisms behind the spread of mass online harassment and fake news by looking at the ‘dark patterns’ underlying the technology platforms. In the science of user experience, dark patterns are psychological tricks incorporated into technology interfaces that are designed to get a user to do something they normally wouldn’t do, like buying a product or signing up for a newsletter.”