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First POST: Headlining

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 15 2014

Republican efforts to catch up to Democratic techies begin to bear fruit; TV ads are getting targeted at specific viewers; comments to the FCC on its net neutrality/open Internet proposal close down; and much, much more. Read More

Why Facebook's 'Voter Megaphone' Is the Real Manipulation to Worry About

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 3 2014

Two years ago, on the morning of the 2012 election in the United States, I got an email with an urgent subject line: "You should write the story of how Facebook blew an opportunity to turn out 300k voters." The sender, a veteran progressive online activist who would prefer to remain anonymous, was upset for good reason. The election was bound to be close, and as of 10am that morning he hadn't yet seen an "I'm Voting" button on his Facebook page, nor had another colleague of his. Nor was one on my own Facebook page. Given that when Facebook deployed a similar "I Voted" button in 2010, and added messages in users' News Feeds showing them the names and faces of friends who had said they voted, the cumulative effect boosted turnout then by at least 340,000 votes, these activists had good reason to be concerned. Facebook had announced that it was going to do the same thing in 2012, and this time around its American user base had grown enormously, from 61 million to more than 160 million. A social and visible nudge like an "I 'm Voting" button had the potential to measurably increase turnout, even more so as Facebook was including a useful tool to help people find their polling places. And yet on Election Day 2012 its deployment was far from universal. Facebook was conducting research on us. Read More

First POST: Decay

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 21 2014

The USA Freedom Act surveillance reform bill is getting watered down; Data.gov's 5th anniversary is no cause for celebration; Iran cracks down on "Happy" YouTube video sharers; and much, much more. Read More

Obama Promises U.S-German "Cyberdialogue"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, May 2 2014

(German Government/Bundesregierung.de)

President Obama said he was committed to a U.S.- German "cyberdialogue" in a White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he continued to try to regain the trust of German public opinion that has been pre-occupied with the NSA surveillance revelations and the fate of Edward Snowden. Read More

First POST: Big Data Analytics

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 2 2014

Analyzing the White House report on "Big Data"; Larry Lessig starts a SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs; why Marc Andreessen is bullish on the news business; and much, much more. Read More

Survey Suggests Young People Unengaged With Politics and Voting, Engaged with Social Media

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 29 2014

New data from Harvard University's Institute of Politics finds new evidence that young people are disenchanted with government and are not enthusiastic about voting in the Midterm elections, though are enthusiastic about spending time on social media, echoing in some respects the findings of a recent Pew survey. Read More

First POST: Commercially Reasonable Highway Robbery

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, April 25 2014

Net neutrality advocates cry foul at the FCC; a White House petition for "true net neutrality" takes off; the "promise of hashtag" becomes an Internet meme; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Stardust

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, April 18 2014

Edward Snowden tries to turn the tables on Vladimir Putin; David Axelrod will be working against his former colleague Jim Messina in the upcoming British elections; how online activists have damaged Rush Limbaugh's business model; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Launches

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 15 2014

It's a day for civic start-up launches and we've got the run down; The Pulitzer committee says the NSA revelations were a "public service"; Ready for Hillary is organizing on campuses; and much, much more. Read More

News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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