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First POST: Pushbacks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 6 2015


  • After you get past Ev Williams' throat-clearing clarification about why he "doesn't give a shit" if Instagram has more users than Twitter, the company he cofounded, his Medium essay about measuring attention rather than clicks is well worth your (ahem) time.

  • Prediction lists proliferate at the beginning of the year and they're generally not worth much, but from this batch of "consultant predictions" over at Campaigns & Elections, John Rowley's stood out. "Groups of voters are going to push back against politicians having so much data on them," he predicts, and "2015 will be the last cycle major campaigns will worry much about news media relations with print." Sounds about right. (By the way, C&E editors: What's with not linking to the sites of all the companies you just got free content from?)

  • "Not all online 'hate speech' or advocacy of violence is treated equally," writes Glenn Greenwald for the Intercept, taking a close look at how authorities in countries like the UK and the US are criminalizing some forms of social media expression.

  • Among the troubling examples cited by Greenwald: this story of how the Chicopee (MA) Police Department arrested a local man for writing "put wings on pigs" on Facebook, but have done nothing about a Facebook comment from a former cop encouraging "my law enforcement friends… [to] kill him dead."

  • The FBI believes it doesn't need a warrant to use cell-site simulators (called "stingrays") to snoop on Americans' phone conversations if they are used in public places where the agency "deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy," David Kravets reports for ArsTechnica.

  • Don't miss Tom Watson's interview in with longtime digital journalism innovator Andy Carvin on the launch of his decentralized news hub

  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the exiled Russian oligarch who spent years in a Siberian prison after crossing Vladimir Putin, is now trying to use social media to build "a horizontal network" called Open Russia aimed at nurturing a democratic opposition movement in his homeland, and as Julia Ioffe reports for The New Yorker, there are lots of reasons to question if he is the right person to make that happen, given his earlier rise to riches.

  • The FCC has upgraded its complaints platform, a first step towards updating its infrastructure for taking in public input, reports Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica.