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First POST: Understanding the Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 8 2012

Was this going to be Mitt Romney's transition website?

Around the web

  • ICYMI: Micah L. Sifry writes that the best stories about social media during election season don't have much to do with the election: "In truth, the most interesting uses of social media in this election cycle were not directly focused on the presidential campaigns, but outside them. First with the Tea Party and Ron Paul movements, and then later with Occupy Wall Street, we saw that when ordinary Americans want to, they can use these tools to make powerful cause with each other."

  • Sarah Lai Stirland outlined how the Obama campaign used a digital infrastructure to win and Nick Judd writes that the Romney campaign was frequently a half-step behind.

  • Cryptography researcher Matt Blaze said he obtained the link to the mockup of what would have been Mitt Romney's transition website, which he posted online. While it was taken down shortly thereafter, Politicalwire and the Huffington Post were able to obtain screenshots.

  • Politico and the Washington Examiner reported that the Romney campaign's Project Orca application, intended to monitor voter turnout in real time, experienced frequent glitches.

  • The Guardian's Ed Pilkington suggested that the President's thanks to "the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever." was in effect his thanks to the campaign's data operation. Yesterday, Obama visited his Chicago headquarters to meet with campaign staff, and a photo showed him hugging Jim Messina.

  • Erik Wemple argued that CNN had the best coverage on election night, in large part due to its combination of superior technology with county-level reporting and anchor John King's demonstrated knowledge of voter data context.

  • Adweek noted how pro-Obama Super Pac Priorities USA Action had blanketed Twitter with ad buys in the day leading up to the election, while Obama campaign accounts for Michelle Obama and Joe Biden sent targeted direct messages. On Election Night, the PAC was buying promoted tweets for the hashtag #JohnKing.

  • According to Adweek, the Romney campaign did not make it into a list of the top 100 online advertisers by ad volume until October, and then was only at 100th place, compared with Obama, who was at fourth place. Early data for November showed Obama at Number 2 and Romney at Number 5.

  • In a post-mortem New York Times story on how Obama managed to win in spite of the first debate, Stephanie Cutter is quoted as saying, "We are getting bombed on Twitter," as Romney managed to score points.

  • Ars Technica noted that three lawmakers who had sponsored SOPA had been voted out.

  • Cnet analyzed the tech winners and losers of the election.

  • For Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn summarized what the election means for the Internet.

  • Wired suggested that Obama had won "the nerdiest election ever."

  • Matt Ortega bid Mitt Romney farewell with to the tune of "I Will Remember You."

  • The White House website underwent a slight update with a photo of Obama, a quote from his acceptance speech, and the encouragement to sign up to receive updates from Obama and senior officials.

  • Democrats are collecting online petition signatures to congratulate President Obama on his victory.

  • Pew used Google Consumer Surveys to conduct a reaction survey after the election, in which 44 percent of respondents said they were happy about the outcome and 43 percent said they were unhappy about the outcome.

  • ReadWriteWeb suggested that Instagram has come of age during Hurricane Sandy and the election.

  • A Microsoft Surface tablet was tested as a balloting device in Virginia.

  • An image circulating on Facebook comparing the election results map with free states and slave states has been shared over 18,000 times.

  • TechCrunch suggested that Facebook is not decreasing the reach of page posts in the newsfeed to benefit promoted posts.

  • The New York Times reported on how Silicon Valley objects to proposals that would regulate the privacy of children online. Rep. Ed Markey told the New York Times, "What children post online or search as part of their homework should not haunt them as they apply to colleges or for jobs."

  • The Hill reported that plans to further implement Do Not Track on the web seemed at a stand-still more than nine months after a high-profile White House event focusing on the issue.

  • French Prime Minister Francois Hollande was mocked for signing off a letter posted in a congratulatory Tweet to President Obama with the term "friendly," the literal translation of the French sign-off "Sympathique, François Hollande."

  • The New York Times explored the role of social media in the legal case against George Zimmerman over the death of Trayvon Martin.

  • Over a year after a Twitter-fueled scandal ended his time in Congress, former Rep. Anthony Weiner sent his first tweet since his resignation to post a video related to Hurricane Sandy relief.

  • Airbnb is partnering with the City of New York to help displaced Sandy victims find free housing.

  • The New York Daily News noted the success of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC.

  • A judge has blocked California's new law that restricts online anonymity for sex offenders, which as approved by voters Tuesday, after an appeal supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • Hank the Cat, Virginia U.S. Senate candidate, received over 6,800 votes. Tim Kaine won the race with over 1.9 million votes.

  • A Maine state Senate candidate who attracted attention — and derision — for her World of Warcraft experience won her race.

  • New York Long Island Rail Road staff were using an Apple iPad app to help customers affected by route changes due to Hurricane Sandy.

  • Two German illustrators have visualized the U.S. election on a Tumblr page with images of burgers and fries.

  • ICYMI: Hugh Atkin created a supercut video showing 60 years of U.S. election ads from Ike to Obama.

  • Max Fisher wondered whether Chinese Internet users were discussing the U.S. election more online than Americans.

  • A draft report by the U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission suggested that China is "the most threatening actor in cyberspace," Bloomberg News reported.

  • Canadian officials are concerned that the poor quality of information routinely collected from airline passengers could hurt plans to compile a comprehensive database of everyone entering or leaving the continent.

  • Egypt is moving towards banning online pornography.

  • Reporters without Borders noted that an amendment to Russia's online child protection bill adds prohibitions on the use of anonymizer and filter- bypass tools.

  • Gabon said it was suspending the website, the domain where Kim Dotcom announced he wanted to launch a Megaupload successor.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.


tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.


The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.