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First POST: Reshaping

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, August 11 2014


  • BuzzFeed just closed a $50 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the company at $850 million, reports Mike Isaac for the New Yotk Times. The money will go to create "an in-house incubator for new technology and potential acquisitions, and putting far more resources toward BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, its Los Angeles-based video arm."

  • Andreessen Horowitz's Chris Dixon, who is joining BuzzFeed's board, explains the investment:

    We see BuzzFeed as a prime example of what we call a “full stack startup”. BuzzFeed is a media company in the same sense that Tesla is a car company, Uber is a taxi company, or Netflix is a streaming movie company. We believe we’re in the “deployment” phase of the internet. The foundation has been laid. Tech is now spreading through every industry and every part of the world. The most interesting tech companies aren’t trying to sell software to other companies. They are trying to reshape industries from top to bottom.

  • On the other end of the meta-historical-technological spectrum, The Times' Ravi Somaya profiles John R. MacArthur, the resolutely anti-Internet publisher of Harper's Magazine.

  • Brits say they trust the authors of Wikipedia entries more than British journalists to tell the truth, according to a new YouGov survey. Methinks this may have something to do with public revulsion at the long stream of ethics scandals plaguing the English press of late. Wikipedia still lags behind the Encyclopedia Brittannica.

  • Eliott Higgins, the founder of the Brown Moses blog--one of the most useful chroniclers of the Syrian civil war, is starting BellingCat, an crowdfunded news site focused on using open-source information to report on current events.

  • Here's another in what is starting to feel like a series: Merissa Nathan Gerson in Salon on how Facebook is accentuating the Israel-Gaza conflict, "leaving me disillusion and miserable about the state of information and the conception of 'truth' today."

  • Related: Wired's Mat Honan "liked" everything in his Facebook news feed for 48 hours, and within an hour "there were no human beings in my feed anymore," he writes. "It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages." Also: "content mills" like Upworthy and the Huffington Post took over his feed, along with increasingly right-wing and left-wing political content. By the second day, his "likes" were swamping his friends' feeds.

  • After college-bound 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, conservatives started posting a photo of him showing a gang symbol. Now the #IfTheyGunnedMeDown hashtag is full of pictures from users asking how the media might portray them if they die in a police shooting, Tom Boggioni explains for Raw Story.

  • It's not quite "hacking democracy," despite the headline, but this round-up in the Guardian of the winners of Australia's annual GovHack hackathon is worth a look.

  • Guess what? Ebola is contagious on social media, too.