Thursday, July 17, 2014
Last month, Facebook announced that it had conducted an experiment in which it purposely showed a group of users only negative posts from their friends' news feeds. The premise was to test what the academics behind the research of "emotional contagion," the notion that moods can spread across networks. Well, everyone was annoyed at being manipulated, and the lead researcher in the study has apologized. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has asked for an investigation from the FTC, saying Facebook was duplicitous, manipulative, and failed to inform users of the experiment. Now, Maryland Law Professor (and friend of TLDR) James Grimmelmann, along with colleague Leslie Meltzer Henry and the faculty of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University have asked the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to retract the Facebook study.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
On the most recent TLDR, I spoke to Max Seddon, foreign correspondent for Buzzfeed, about some recently unearthed documents that show a massive online pro-Russia propaganda effort with ties to The Kremlin.
In that interview, Max made it clear that Russia is far from the only government that does this sort of opinion influencing, citing an AP report from a couple months ago about US efforts to sway public opinion in Cuba by creating its own "fake twitter." from the interview:
USAID set up an entire fake social network for cuban people to get around all the internet filters to Cuba that was meant to create some sort of thing that they could use to influence popular opinion in Cuba, which is closed off to the US, and it's very difficult to do well. because On the internet, people are smart, it's very easy to compare things, and use multiple sources of information and come to the right conclusions. They can tell when something is fake.
On Monday, Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept produced another example of this governmental internet meddling, this time from Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
What can we learn from Tumblr's disastrous DashCon fan convention last weekend?
Monday, July 14, 2014
Today, Wall Street Journal technology columnist Christopher Mims boldly declared that the password is irrelevant and dying. How boldly, you probably weren't asking yourself? Well, so boldly that he posted his twitter password in the article.
Friday, July 11, 2014
The FTC wants to make it harder for children to make purchases in tablet and smartphone games.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
On TLDR #20, I spoke to Jack Stratton of the band Vulfpeck, who released an album of complete silence on Spotify called Sleepify and asked listeners to stream it while they slept so the band could tour without charging for shows.
The gambit was a surprising success, garnering quite a bit of press attention, and eventually arousing the ire of Spotify, who asked the band to remove the album from its service. In the aftermath, I was curious what kind of payout the band ended up getting for its efforts, so I got in touch with Stratton to see how it went. Turns out it went pretty well.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
On July 2nd, NPR education blogger Anya Kamenetz landed in hot water for the following tweet:
I reach out to diverse sources on deadline. Only the white guys get back to me :(— NPR's Education Team (@npr_ed) July 2, 2014
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Two weeks ago, The Washington Redskins hired liberal blogger Ben Tribbett to help defend their name, which Native American groups have been petitioning them to change.
Monday, July 07, 2014
Recently, Netflix royally pissed off Verizon by calling out the ISP for slow streaming video. The two companies went back and forth for a while, with Verizon demanding that Netflix cut it out, and Netflix essentially saying "Ok, fine. But we might bring them back. You should serve your customers better." Now Google is offering an even more granular service called the "Video Quality Report," which will allow users to check out their YouTube streaming quality and compare to other providers in the area.
Monday, July 07, 2014
Pangrams! Sentences that use every letter of the alphabet! You can definitely live without them (unless you happen to be a typographer), but why would you want to? Fortunately, you don’t have to live without them anymore, at least on Twitter.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
The EU's Right to Be Forgotten law means that Google can be forced to hide links to unflattering stories about people. The BBC's Robert Peston wrote yesterday that he'd received notice from Google that his work was being censored under the new laws: