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On The Media

Do Not Track Declared DOA

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A few years ago, there was a strong initiative to create a "Do Not Track" option on the internet, which would keep advertisers from following you from website to website, watching your every browsing and spending move. The hope was that with a single browser option, consumers could block advertisers from following them around the web. On the Media even did a relatively lengthy look at the initiative as proposed by the FTC in 2010.

three and a half years later, the Do Not Track initiative looks like an ambitious, but spectacular failure.

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On The Media

Airbnb is Handing Over User Data To the New York Attorney General.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

If you have been renting your apartment with impunity on Airbnb and you live in New York, it may be time to reconsider. Airbnb has been engaged for months in a legal and PR war against New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over turning over user data, and it appears that today that fight has ended with Airbnb agreeing to give the Attorney General anonymized user data.

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On The Media

Should We Reset Every Password Every Three Months?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

So WNYC, our parent company and benevolent overlords, has set its IT policy such that we are required to change our passwords every three months. and it drives us nuts. It feels like our internal communications are low-stakes enough and WNYC is a not particularly valuable target. But considering how frequently passwords are compromised these days, maybe this should be applied to all my online accounts, not just my work account.

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On The Media

Making TwoXChromosomes a Default Subreddit Has Not Gone Over Well With Everyone

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yesterday, I ran a Q&A I did with the founder of the woman-focused subreddit TwoXChromosomes. As of a few weeks ago, TwoXChromosomes became a default subreddit, meaning it is one of the subreddits new users are autmatically subscribed to. Pageviews immediately exploded for the forum, as did an influx of harrassment from users not enamored of a forum devoted to womens' perspectives. Though the forum's founder framed the change as one that will eventually be a positive one, when my Q&A  was posted to the forum itself, it was met with a very different reception.

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On The Media

Facebook Tries Peer Pressure to Shame Users Into Voting

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Did you know there was an "I'm a voter" button on Facebook for the 2012 election? Neither did I. But apparently the button is meant as subtle social pressure on your facebook community to get out and vote. Today, Facebook announced that it will be expanding the "I'm a Voter" button to international elections.

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On The Media

Being A Feminist On Reddit - The Defaulting of /r/TwoXChromosomes

Monday, May 19, 2014

On May 7th, reddit, self-proclaimed “Front Page of the Internet,” shuffled its lineup of default subreddits. This means that new users who sign up for reddit accounts will get exposed to a host of new subforums on the site, including ArtOldSchoolCool, and the woman-centric subreddit TwoXChromosomes. As a result of this change, these subreddits will be exposed to millions more people every month. I was curious how the denizens of a feminist subforum like TwoXChromosomes felt about being thrust into the limelight on the a website well known for creepshots and men’s rights activism, so I spoke by Skype to “High Fructose Corn Feces,” the creator of TwoXChromosomes and one of its moderators.

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On The Media

Covering Nigeria, Russian Censorship, and More

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Boko Haram caught the international media's attention, why The New York Times fired Jill Abramson, and a look back at joke censorship in the Soviet Union.

On The Media

Four Filthy (Russian) Words

Friday, May 16, 2014

Last week Vladimir Putin signed a law prohibiting swearing in public performances as well as movies and television. Bob talks with The New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick about the shadow language of obscenities that runs deep in Russian culture.

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On The Media

Covering the Nigerian Schoolgirl Kidnapping

Friday, May 16, 2014

Boko Haram's kidnapping of more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls has received global attention thanks to a viral hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls, but violence by Boko Haram is nothing new in Nigeria. Bob talks with Nigerian journalist Alexis Okeowo, who has been covering the story for years, about the international media's sudden interest.

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On The Media

Managing the Press After Tragedy

Friday, May 16, 2014

Last month, a white supremacist shot and killed 3 people at a Jewish community center and a Jewish assisted living center in Kansas. One of the victims was 69-year-old William Lewis Corporon, whose son Will is a former journalist. Bob speaks with Will about being in a unique position to handle the media onslaught that followed the tragedy.

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On The Media

Firing Jill Abramson

Friday, May 16, 2014

In a sudden move this week, The New York Times announced the firing of its executive editor Jill Abramson. Bob speaks with The New Yorker's Ken Auletta about why Abramson was fired.

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On The Media

Free To Forget

Friday, May 16, 2014

Europe's highest court recently ruled that EU citizens have the right to be forgotten—by Google's search engines. Bob talks with Emily Bell, Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, about the impact of this decision on freedom of information and internet privacy. 

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On The Media

What Your Web Browsing Habits Say About How You Will Vote

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Listen to podcasts? You're more likely to be liberal and to vote. Play fantasy football? You may or may not vote, but chances are very high that you're Republican. These are just a few of the broad conclusions that were gleaned from volumes of consumer data about browsing habits, political leanings and voter turnouts.

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On The Media

Deaths by Swimming Pool Drowning vs. Nicholas Cage Films and Other Spurious Correlations

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It is by now an age old adage that "correlation doesn't equal causation," but the internet just loves stories that make spurious correlations. Just yesterday there was an article floating around from Time magazine about a study that showed bullies have a lower risk of chronic diseases, with the headline "Bullying Is Good For Your Health." Wouldn't it be nice if there was a website that put lie to this idea of correlation/causation by taking it to ridiculous extremes? Enter Spurious Correlations.

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On The Media

Search Results Can Influence Elections

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Google search results haven't been a neutral, accurate reflection of the web for a long time. Whether it's SEO or Google's own algorithm tweaks to favor in-house services, or even Google bombing like "Santorum," Google's search results have a profound power to influence, and as such there exists a powerful incentive to manipulate those results. If those examples weren't enough for you, consider a recent study that shows search results can influence elections

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On The Media

EA is Shutting Down The Virtual Worlds of Dozens of its Old Games

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Game studio Electronic Arts has announced that it is going to take the virtual worlds of over 50 games offline at the end of the month after its hosting service, GameSpy, announced it was shutting down. It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

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On The Media

Now You Can Ignore People on Twitter the Same Way You Do On Facebook

Monday, May 12, 2014

They've finally decided to add a feature that has been present on apps such as Tweetdeck for a while - an option to "mute" people you follow.

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On The Media

Watchdogs in Tuxedos

Friday, May 09, 2014

Bob ends his DC journey on the red carpet of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where journalists rub elbows with the very people they cover. Oh, and a bunch of celebrities show up too.

Song: Washington D.C. by The Magnetic Fields

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On The Media

The Powers That Used To Be

Friday, May 09, 2014

Used to be that traditional media outlets like The Washington Post set the news agenda in the nation's capital. But the new media landscape is shifting the power to influence to some unlikely players. Bob visits The Washington Post, Politico and Buzzfeed to see how each of them is trying to dominate the DC conversation.

Song: Officer Officer by Anika

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On The Media

OTM Goes Inside Washington

Friday, May 09, 2014

OTM has traveled the world exploring the nexus of media and society, reaching such far off places as Russia, China, and Egypt. But the center of American politics and power had been overlooked—until now. This week Bob travels to Washington, DC to investigate perception and reality, money and celebrity and the evolving role of the media in the nation’s capital.