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First POST: Connecting the Dots

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 17 2014

Connecting the Dots

  • A new report from Take Back the Tech criticizes major social media companies for their lack of transparency about how they handle complaints of abuse against women on their platforms, reports Caitlin Dewey for the Washington Post. Of the three companies scrutinized, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, only Facebook gets a passing grade for explaining how its reporting process works.

  • On its website, Take Back the Tech is asking users to self-report how each platform handles abuse.

  • Author James Bamford connects the dots between a recent protest from veterans of Israel's elite intelligence Unit 8200 and Edward Snowden's revelation that the NSA shares raw data with that unit and asks, in a New York Times op-ed, if that data is being used, as the Israelis charge, to profile Palestinians' sexual proclivities, infidelities, money problems, medical conditions "that could be used to coerce Palestinians into becoming collaborators or create divisions in their society."

  • In a town obsessed with who has the most clout, some DC types are now competing over who takes the most steps, reports Michael Rosenwald for the Washington Post. If only someone made an app that could measure their contributions to a healthier society. House members don't even bother to compete to get the most votes every two years.

  • MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig tells the Washington Post's Philip Bump that "I'm confident that we're about halfway to getting the five [million in yet-to-be donated matching funds] together." But he adds, "Right now we're building a plan based on the assumption that we are not going to get it."

  • Super civic hacker (I would have written "uber-hacker" but I fear that phrase has been borked) Joshua Tauberer, founder of, takes to the pages of Code for DC's blog to raise the alarm: "Do I need a lawyer to hack in DC?"

  • Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and Obama '08 online guru, is relinquishing his title of editor-in-chief of The New Republic, the magazine he bought in 2012, and hiring Guy Vidra, formerly of Yahoo News, as its CEO, Hadas Gold reports for Politico.

  • The Open Government Partnership is turning three next week, and its deputy director Joe Powell blogs that "countries have now made over 2,000 individual open government reform commitments under the OGP umbrella." A closer look at that claim is needed, for as our Jessica McKenizie noted last spring, many of them may predate the creation of the OGP.

  • Meetup is twelve years old and now boasts 20 million members and about a half million events per month running through its platform, reports James O'Brien for Mashable. "We're in the business of creating real communities," says Scott Heiferman, its founder and a true hero of civic tech.

  • Trips taken by traditional taxi have dropped 65% in the last 15 months in San Francisco, reports Michael Cabanatuan for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • The program and speaker line-up for PDF italia, taking place this September 29 in Rome, is up. Registration is free.

  • One out of three foreign workers in Malaysia's electronics industry is coerced, a new report from Verite has found.

  • Sorry First POST is a tad late today: I'm on the west coast…