The Cut: I’m a Normal Person and I Buy My Instagram Followers

The Cut: I’m a Normal Person and I Buy My Instagram Followers. “Follow Me is a weeklong series about personal brands, for better or for worse. Here, a 35-year-old woman from Chicago explains the process of buying Instagram followers for her dog — and why she’d do it again.”

Harvard Business Review: When Algorithms Decide Whose Voices Will Be Heard

Harvard Business Review: When Algorithms Decide Whose Voices Will Be Heard. “Are we giving up our freedom of expression and action in the name of convenience? While we may have the perceived power to express ourselves digitally, our ability to be seen is increasingly governed by algorithms — with lines of codes and logic — programmed by fallible humans. Unfortunately, what dictates and controls the outcomes of such programs is more often than not a black box.”

Ancestry: Your Privacy is our Top Priority

Ancestry: Your Privacy is our Top Priority. “Your privacy is important to us. That’s why we want to share our position on a recent event where a Florida judge issued a search warrant to allow law enforcement to search all of GEDmatch, an open data personal genomics database. Following the issuance of the search warrant, GEDmatch opened its database of nearly one million users — beyond those who had consented to such access — within 24 hours. Ancestry believes that GEDmatch could have done more to protect the privacy of its users, by pushing back on the warrant or even challenging it in court.”

Opinion: The more outrageous the lie, the better it is for Facebook’s bottom line (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times: Opinion: The more outrageous the lie, the better it is for Facebook’s bottom line. “Digital platforms try to engage users with their services for as long and as intensively as possible. This lets them sell ads and gather personal data, which then generate more value. It turns out that lies generate outrage and fear and these emotions generate engagement. So as long as a platform’s financial returns align with outrage, it is optimized for information rubbish. It’s difficult to stop the dissemination of bad information, consistent with free speech values. But what we can do is check the dominance of platforms that profit from misinformation and empower users to defend against it.”

TechCrunch: Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

TechCrunch: Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage. “Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because ‘political messages reach should be earned, not bought’ has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of ‘political ads that lie.’ While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.”

Daily Bruin: The UC and Elsevier are refusing to compromise at unacceptable cost to students

Daily Bruin: The UC and Elsevier are refusing to compromise at unacceptable cost to students. “The UC and Elsevier must find a middle ground and come to a reasonable agreement to renew their annual subscription – one that both sides can feel content with. And that doesn’t mean one side or the other getting their way; it means compromise – in the fullest sense of the word. Because every day that goes by without an agreement means more students are getting swindled for something that’s beyond their own control.”

Washington Post: I worked on political ads at Facebook. They profit by manipulating us.

Washington Post: I worked on political ads at Facebook. They profit by manipulating us. “The real problem is that Facebook profits partly by amplifying lies and selling dangerous targeting tools that allow political operatives to engage in a new level of information warfare. Its business model exploits our data to let advertisers custom-target people, show us each a different version of the truth and manipulate us with hyper-customized ads — ads that, as of two weeks ago, can contain blatantly false and debunked information if they’re run by a political campaign. As long as Facebook prioritizes profit over healthy discourse, they can’t avoid damaging democracies.”