Ottawa Start: Help OttWatch enter data for 2018 municipal election donations. “After about two weeks of effort, OttWatch and volunteers have digitized almost all campaign donation records for the 2018 municipal election. The website for city hall nerds, run by Kevin O’Donnell, now has more than 2,700 (over 78 per cent) of 3,490 donations for the 2018 vote entered into their database. It’s a much improved way of tracking donations — otherwise you’d have to sift through PDF filings for individual candidates.”
New Bloom: Is China Attempting To Influence Taiwanese Elections Through Social Media?. “CONCERNS REGARDING Chinese attempts to interfere in Taiwanese elections are in the news again after a wave of unusual activity reported by moderators of well-known Facebook pages with a pro-Taiwan slant.”
EurekAlert: Democracy in the matrix. “A new online platform enables users to get information about the democratic quality of a specific country with just a few clicks. The new tool has been designed by political scientists from the University of Würzburg.”
CNET: Congress chose to bicker instead of helping fix Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. “Lawmakers this week oversaw six hours of hearings in the House and Senate judiciary committees to discuss the spread of extremism and concerns about censorship on the internet. By the end, after testimony from victims, advocates and even policy people at Facebook, Twitter and Google, there were no major revelations. And there was no agreement about how to move forward. Bupkis.”
Rantt Media: Mayor Pete’s Media-Made Moment. “If you were to ask someone who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) what the most important aspect of driving traffic to a site is they would reply with one word – keywords. Simply put, keywords are the end-all-be-all when it comes to building an audience on the web. The more keywords you rank for, the easier it is for potential readers to discover you on search engines. The easier it is for people to discover you on search engines the likelier they are to click your link. And finally, the likelier people are to click your link, the better chances you’ll have that some of them click an ad on your site that makes you money. Right now, Pete Buttigieg is THE keyword for news publications to be ranking for.”
It’s far too early for me to be thinking about which candidate I want to support in 2020 — I am still listening to them and fact gathering. And I like Mr. Buttigieg fine, if only because he has a brain in his head and appears to make the most of it. But I haven’t seen any other story make this point: when companies chase SEO, this kind of focus on a name for clicks, and when they get clicks for a name they devote even MORE focus to it — it generates this kind of attention tornado that drowns other names out, no matter what the intention of the search engine or ranking algorithm.
Ars Technica: DHS, FBI say election systems in all 50 states were targeted in 2016. “A joint intelligence bulletin (JIB) has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation to state and local authorities regarding Russian hacking activities during the 2016 presidential election. While the bulletin contains no new technical information, it is the first official report to confirm that the Russian reconnaissance and hacking efforts in advance of the election went well beyond the 21 states confirmed in previous reports.”
Washington Post: Senate Republicans renew their claims that Facebook, Google and Twitter censor conservatives . “Republicans led by Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday pilloried Facebook, Google and Twitter over allegations they censor conservative users and content online, threatening federal regulation in response to claims that Democrats long have described as a hoax and a distraction.”