Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Social Media

Audit Finds Facebook’s Decisions Were ‘Setbacks for Civil Rights

The New York Times – “An independent audit faulted the social network for allowing hate speech and disinformation to thrive — potentially posing a threat to the November elections. Auditors handpicked by Facebook to examine its policies said that the company had not done enough to protect people on the platform from discriminatory posts and ads and that its decisions to leave up President Trump’s inflammatory posts were “significant setbacks for civil rights.” The 89-page audit put Facebook in an awkward position as the presidential campaign heats up. The report gave fuel to the company’s detractors, who said the site had allowed hate speech and misinformation to flourish. The audit also placed the social network in the spotlight for an issue it had worked hard to avoid since the 2016 election: That it may once again be negatively influencing American voters. Now Facebook has to decide whether its approach to hateful speech and noxious content — which was to leave it alone in the name of free expression — remains tenable. And that decision puts pressure on Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who has repeatedly said that his company was not an arbiter of truth and that it would not police politicians’ posts…”

See also Facebook is out of control. If it were a country it would be North KoreaCarole Cadwalladr – “There is no power on this earth that is capable of holding Facebook to account. No legislature, no law enforcement agency, no regulator. Congress has failed. The EU has failed. When the Federal Trade Commission fined it a record $5bn for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its stock price actually went up. Which is what makes this moment so interesting and, possibly, epochal. If the boycott of Facebook by some of the world’s biggest brands – Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks – succeeds, it will be because it has targeted the only thing that Facebook understands: its bottom line. And if it fails, that will be another sort of landmark. Because this is a company that facilitated an attack on a US election by a foreign power, that live-streamed a massacre then broadcast it to millions around the world, and helped incite a genocide…”

See also –a statement issued by the nation’s leading civil rights organizations — including the NAACP, Color of Change, and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. This audit has laid bare what we already know — Facebook is a platform plagued by civil rights shortcomings. Facebook has an enormous impact on our civil rights — by facilitating hate speech and violence, voter and census disinformation, and algorithmic bias, and by shortchanging diversity and inclusion. This audit has exposed Facebook’s vulnerabilities and provides important recommendations that they must take up swiftly..”

A Plan to Make Police Data Open Source Started on Reddit

Wired – “…For years, researchers, journalists, and activists have turned to official records, from incident reports to misconduct complaints, as one window into police behavior in the United States. “The problem is that all of this data, although it’s public, is buried inside of these really crappy or antiquated public records portals,” says Kristin Tynski.… Continue Reading

How Google Docs became the social media of the resistance

MIT Technology Review – “Facebook and Twitter might have the bells and whistles, but the word processing software’s simplicity and accessibility have made it a winning tool… In just the last week, Google Docs has emerged as a way to share everything from lists of books on racism to templates for letters to family members… Continue Reading

Pete Recommends Weekly Highlights on Cyber Security Issues July 5, 2020

Via LLRX – Pete Recommends Weekly Highlights on Cybersecurity Issues July 5, 2020 – Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex… Continue Reading

As COVID-19 cases spike in US, mask misinformation also spreads

Agence France Presse Fact Check – “Social media posts shared thousands of times in the United States contain multiple false or misleading claims about face masks used to stop the spread of COVID-19, including that they violate federal standards for oxygen supply, cloth masks “do not filter anything” and trap carbon dioxide, surgical masks spread germs,… Continue Reading

Social Media: Threat to or Tool of Authoritarianism?

HBR – “…Given the growing weight of social media’s influence on society, the key question is whether social media will become a sentinel against systematic oppression and injustice, effectively posing a serious challenge to authoritarian regimes. In the case of China, while social media may not have the power to cause a regime change, it… Continue Reading

You Purged Racists From Your Website? Great, Now Get to Work

Wired: “The Covid-19 infodemic taught social media giants like YouTube and Reddit an important lesson: They can—and must—take action to control the content on their sites. For those who follow the politics of platforms, Monday’s great expulsion of malicious content creators was better late than never. For far too long, a very small contingent of… Continue Reading

Coronavirus Responses Highlight How Humans Have Evolved to Dismiss Facts That Don’t Fit Their Worldview

Scientific American – Science denialism is not just a simple matter of logic or ignorance:  “Americans increasingly exist in highly polarized, informationally insulated ideological communities occupying their own information universes. Within segments of the political blogosphere, global warming is dismissed as either a hoax or so uncertain as to be unworthy of response. Within other geographic or online… Continue Reading

Bringing Greater Precision to the COVID-19 Response

“Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic calls for precision – understanding who is most vulnerable and why, where the disease is spreading fastest, and how interventions like social distancing are working. This website offers a toolkit of large-scale datasets and actionable analysis for government officials, policymakers, and citizens from the national level to the hyper-local. Our data… Continue Reading

New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic

Washington Post – “…The three studies paint a picture of a media ecosystem that entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking steps to protect themselves and others.. There are many reasons our response to the pandemic tied to more than 120,000 U.S. deaths has faltered, experts say, including the lack of a cohesive federal… Continue Reading

As COVID-19 Emerged in U.S. Facebook Posts About It Appeared in a Wide Range of Public Pages, Groups

“About three-quarters (74%) of public posts about COVID-19 linked to news organizations, while just 1% linked to health and science sites. The COVID-19 outbreak has driven record traffic to news sites as most Americans have sought out information about the virus and its implications for society. Many have turned to social media to follow the… Continue Reading

Facebook technology makes 3D models of people from photos

PIFuHD: Multi-Level Pixel-Aligned Implicit Function for High-Resolution 3D Human Digitization – S. Saito, T. Simon, J. Saragih, H. Joo. CVPR 2020. [Paper] [Video] [Code] [Demo]: “Recent advances in image-based 3D human shape estimation have been driven by the significant improvement in representation power afforded by deep neural networks. Although current approaches have demonstrated the potential… Continue Reading