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First POST: Sad Reality

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 25 2014

Sad Reality

  • As noted by many observers, St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch spent a surprising amount of time attacking social media during his press conference last night announcing the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. "“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about,” McCulloch said, “following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media.” On Mediate, Matt Wilstein rounds up the responses.

  • It's worth recalling that without social media, and Twitter in particular, the killing of Michael Brown and the Ferguson police's hyper-militarized response might never have become a national news story in the first place, as David Carr wrote for the New York Times back in August.

  • Split-screens: Last night, as the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced, my Twitter feed immediately lit up with the news. Meanwhile, my Facebook "top stories" news feed made no mention of it, a reminder of the pattern first noted by technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci last August. My nonscientific sample of other Twitter users reported the same thing, though people accessing Facebook through a mobile device reported that they indeed see the breaking news.

  • Here's a visualization of geotagged tweets mentioning Ferguson as the grand jury news broke last night in the United States.

  • More than seven in ten online adults in America use Facebook, Pew Internet's latest social networking factsheet reports. Two in ten use Twitter.

  • The Ferguson National Response Network's tumblr lists dozens of local rallies taking place today.

  • "Republican digital took another step forward this cycle," writes Vincent Harris, GOP online consultant, in Campaigns & Elections, but, he adds, "there's still a lot of work to be done to reach parity with the culture of the Democrats." He notes, "The sad reality…is that the overwhelming majority of Republican campaigns are not operating with one centralized database."

  • The "Ready for Hillary" holding operation has built a list of "more than 3 million Clinton supporters…and about 35,000 volunteers," reports Ruby Cramer for Buzzfeed. That does not include Facebook users who have liked the group's page. It is already synched up to the NGP VAN 50-state voter file.

  • Our Rebecca Chao takes an in-depth look at how Hollaback!, the anti-street harassment group, has used digital story-sharing to build a grassroots movement with 79 chapters in 26 countries.

  • The new malware known as "Regin," first revealed by Symantec Sunday, is suspected to be behind spying on the European Union and a Belgian telco conducted by the NSA and GCHQ, report Morgan Marquise-Boire, Claudio Guarnieri and Ryan Gallagher for The Intercept.

  • Tech mogul Mark Cuban explains to the Washington Post's Nancy Scola why he opposes net neutrality ("if it ain't broke, don't fix it") and wants "fast lanes" for new applications that will need lots of bandwidth and "guaranteed quality of service."

  • Battling its negative image, Uber is providing free on-demand pickups today in Boston, New York City and San Francisco for people who want to donate clothes to Goodwill.