The New Yorker: The End of the Awl and the Vanishing of Freedom and Fun from the Internet

The New Yorker: The End of the Awl and the Vanishing of Freedom and Fun from the Internet. “Blogs are necessarily idiosyncratic, entirely about sensibility: they can only be run by workhorses who are creative enough to amuse themselves and distinct enough to hook an audience, and they tend to publish like-minded writers, who work more on the principle of personal obsession than pay. The result is editorial latitude to be obscure and silly and particular, but the finances are increasingly hard to sustain; media consumption is controlled these days by centralized tech platforms—Facebook, Twitter—whose algorithms favor what is viral, newsy, reactionary, easily decontextualized, and of general appeal.”

Vice: We Are Only Just Realising That Facebook Has Lost All Meaning

Vice: We Are Only Just Realising That Facebook Has Lost All Meaning. “The problem with the new Facebook is that there is simply not enough meaningful content being generated by users to fill the gap left by brands and publishers. Granted, every now and again there is an engagement announcement, a “SUMMER 2017″ film developed, an incredible thread after someone quits their job and does a 600-word status on how bad the toilets were. But mostly it’s just people asking for accountants or holiday recommendations. Most of us stopped handing over our real selves to Facebook a while ago, and let publishers take over. Now they’re gone, there are no meaningful social interactions, just a dull bulletin board.”

TechCrunch: It’s time for Washington to start working on artificial intelligence

TechCrunch: It’s time for Washington to start working on artificial intelligence. “As the founder of the Artificial Intelligence Caucus, I’ve been working to start a new dialogue on Capitol Hill that is focused on the future. Recently, I introduced the House version of the FUTURE of AI Act that would create a formal process for both Congress and the Executive Branch to start looking at AI seriously, asking hard questions and consulting experts on what the next steps should be.”

Quartz: When will social media companies get serious about their effect on young kids?

Quartz: When will social media companies get serious about their effect on young kids?. “The problem is, we don’t really know the long-term effects of social media on children, which leaves us feeling a bit powerless to push back against inextricable lure of connection and affirmation. We turn on parental controls that kids can hack, and create tech-free zones and hours (previously known as bedtime) to try and mitigate the effects. It should not be this way. Social media giants should share what they know about younger users—I’m guessing they have some data—and embrace design principles around protection, not simply ‘interaction.’”

Content moderation is not a panacea: Logan Paul, YouTube, and what we should expect from platforms (Points)

Points: Content moderation is not a panacea: Logan Paul, YouTube, and what we should expect from platforms. “There is an undeniable need, now more than ever, to reconsider the public responsibilities of social media platforms. For too long, platforms have enjoyed generous legal protections and an equally generous cultural allowance, to be ‘mere conduits’ not liable for what users post to them. in the shadow of this protection, they have constructed baroque moderation mechanisms: flagging, review teams, crowdworkers, automatic detection tools, age barriers, suspensions, verification status, external consultants, blocking tools. They all engage in content moderation, but are not obligated to; they do it largely out of sight of public scrutiny, and are held to no official standards as to how they do so. This needs to change, and it is beginning to.”

ReviewGeek: Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Is Completely Busted

ReviewGeek: Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Is Completely Busted. “We can complain about it all we want—may I suggest a good rant on Facebook?—but at the end of the day, Facebook’s News Feed is designed to keep you idly scrolling past things you kind of like but can’t look away from, rather than keeping up with the people you care the most about and then moving on with your day. If you want to see the most important stuff to you, you’re better off subscribing to news sites in Feedly, following public profiles on Twitter, or just texting your friends and family and ask how they’re doing.”

Mashable: Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read

Mashable: Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read. “Remember the 2008 financial crash? The (dumb, wildly over-simplified) reason it happened was thanks in large part to giant investment banks like Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan. These enormous institutions figured out a way to make money off of home loans people didn’t have the means to pay back. As a result, a bunch of people who should’ve never been given home loans were, of course, given home loans. And of course, they couldn’t pay the loans back. The entire thing kept going and going until the financial system fell in on itself. The big parallel: Those investment banks incentivized the creation of a shitty product. Which is exactly what Facebook did. Yep. Hi. We’re there. ” This is really good.

The Conversation: Social networking sites may be controlling your mind – here’s how to take charge

The Conversation: Social networking sites may be controlling your mind – here’s how to take charge. “But how free are we today? There are industries dedicated to capturing and selling our attention – and the best bait is social networking. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have drawn us closer round the campfire of our shared humanity. Yet, they come with costs, both personal and political. Users must decide if the benefits of these sites outweigh their costs. This decision should be freely made. But can it be, if social networking sites are potentially addictive? The decision should also be informed. But can it be, if we don’t know what is happening behind the curtain?”

Salon: How to save the internet

Salon: How to save the internet . “In late October, Ajit Pai, Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, proudly announced, ‘We’ve been energetic in advancing the public interest…over the past nine months, the Commission has voted on 63 items at our monthly meetings, compared to 103 in the preceding three years.’ It now surpasses 70. This certainly has been a busy year for the FCC. But Pai is dead wrong that this flurry of activity has been done to advance the public interest. Indeed, as one might expect from a man who once worked for telecom giant Verizon, Pai has directed an unprecedented abdication by the FCC of its responsibility to protect the public welfare.”

From Compton to Google: How to fix tech’s diversity problem (The Next Web)

The Next Web: From Compton to Google: How to fix tech’s diversity problem. “Where I come from, folks survive with minimal resources, persevere despite daunting adversity, bring a wealth of diverse viewpoints, and work incredibly hard. They have the grit to succeed even if their skills are, for the moment, lacking. I know plenty of people who are eager to learn how to code or work at a startup. They would be more grateful for the perks and privileges companies offer than the more well-to-do (I know I am). For better or for worse, I feel these are some of the same reasons why companies have sent jobs overseas. Yet, they have bypassed the incredible talent in their own backyards. Why can’t we have a tech boom born in America’s long-neglected hoods and ghettos?”

Medium: Merry Last Christmas, Jack Dorsey.

Medium: Merry Last Christmas, Jack Dorsey.. “Among the changes, swastikas are now banned from Twitter. That’s a good move. I applaud it, and it’s beyond time. However, the Confederate flag, a hate symbol that defines one race’s desire to own another race, is still acceptable. Twitter’s reason is that the Confederate flag is historical. But so is the swastika. This decision seems less based on principles, but more on a desire to not piss off a certain group. Despite their sanctimonious appeal to ‘principles’, Twitter appears to be making decisions based on who they’re afraid to (or can’t afford to) piss off and then backwards engineering the rationale to make it palatable. That’s not principled. That’s cynical.”

The new cold war: how our focus on Russia obscures social media’s real threat (The Guardian)

The Guardian: The new cold war: how our focus on Russia obscures social media’s real threat. “Washington used to worship Silicon Valley. Few things made politicians’ hearts beat faster than the bipartisan love for big tech. Silicon Valley was building the future. Government’s role was to offer compliments and get out of the way. Recently, however, the mood has shifted. “

Did We Lose Tomorrow Yesterday?, By Simbo Olorunfemi (Premium Times Nigeria)

Premium Times Nigeria: Did We Lose Tomorrow Yesterday?, By Simbo Olorunfemi. “With the passage of time and how events of today are increasingly interlocking with those of yesterday, one begins to realise that the key to unlocking a part of tomorrow might actually be in the hands of yesterday. But how do you do that when we have some who only know today, rejecting the authentic yesterday, simply because it does not suit their history-bereft understanding of today’s ever-shifting narrative of what tomorrow should be like. But how do we navigate tomorrow successfully when we cannot recall or accurately situate yesterday? How do you properly place the ancient of days seeking to take hold of your tomorrow when you have no knowledge of their yesterday? Yet sadly, increasingly, some shallow and intemperate voices are beginning to dominate discourse in the polity, especially in the social media space, as it appears […]

Vanity Fair: The End Of The Social Era Can’t Come Soon Enough

Vanity Fair: The End Of The Social Era Can’t Come Soon Enough. “Many people imagine 19th-century antebellum America as a frontier fantasia: men with handlebar mustaches sitting in dusty saloons, kicking back moonshine whiskey, as a piano player picks out tunes in the background. In reality, though, life was a little more sordid: Americans spent their time after work in fully legal heroin dens; in 1885, opium and cocaine were even given to children to help with teething. ‘Cocaine Toothache Drops,’ which were marketed as presenting an ‘instantaneous cure’ were sold for 15 cents a box. Today, in the midst of our opioid crisis, we hear about this past and wonder unequivocally, what the hell were they thinking?”