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First POST: Platforms

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 8 2014


  • Here's a visualization of tweets using the hashtags #ICantBreathe, #BlackLivesMatter and #HandsUpDontShoot (color-coded) from November 24-December 5, worldwide. When #ICantBreathe explodes on December 4th you will be amazed.

  • Kriston Capps maps out the "unprecedented scale" of the protests across America for CityLab.

  • The teenage girls who make up the heart of the One Direction fanbase on Tumblr are all posting about race relations in America in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner non-indictments, writes digital strategy consultant Kaitlyn Dowling in an intriguing bit of zeitgeist-sniffing on Medium.

  • Police in Chicago appear to be using sophisticated eavesdropping technology to monitor the cellphone conversations of people involved in the recent street protests, reports Mike Krauser for CBS Chicago.

  • After reminding us of the reasons why we can't trust companies like Uber and Facebook with how they handle user data, Zeynep Tufekci and Brayden King argue in a New York Times oped that

    "we need information fiduciaries: independent, external bodies that oversee how data is used, backed by laws that ensure that individuals can see, correct and opt out of data collection. The European Union has established strict controls on personal data that include provisions of privacy, limited and legitimate use and user access to their own data. That shows that accountability is possible.We already regulate sensitive data, ranging from health records to financial information. We must update oversight for 21st-century data as well.

  • Ben Goldacre, noted British science scold, writes in the Guardian about the creepy end of personal privacy, as "nuggets of personal information that seem trivial, individually, can now be aggregated, indexed and processed." The result, he warns, "can give away more about our character than our intuitions are able to spot".

  • Could the so-called "sharing economy" be more about sharing than the economy? That's the argument of New School professor Trebor Scholz, writing on Medium:

    There isn’t just one, inevitable future of work. Let us apply the power of our technological imagination to practice forms of cooperation and collaboration. Worker–owned cooperatives could design their own apps-based platforms, fostering truly peer-to-peer ways of providing services and things, and speak truth to the new platform capitalists.

    Read the whole thing.

  • Economics professor Tyler Cowen takes a look in The New York Times at how technology might be used to reduce inequality.

  • Chris Hughes, the owner of the embattled New Republic, responds to his critics with an oped in The Washington Post. His core argument says this has nothing to do with Silicon Valley values vs traditional journalism: "At the New Republic, I believe we owe it to ourselves and to this institution to aim to become a sustainable business and not position ourselves to rely on the largesse of an unpredictable few. Our success is not guaranteed, but I think it’s critical to try."

  • Civil rights groups in the US are divided on net neutrality, reports Edward Wyatt in the New York Times, with some with long ties to the cable industry questioning President Obama's recent strong stand on the issue.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is against net neutrality, saying fast lanes are needed for new innovative online services, reports Dante D'Orazio for the Verge.