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Why Facebook's 'Voter Megaphone' Is the Real Manipulation to Worry About

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 3 2014

Two years ago, on the morning of the 2012 election in the United States, I got an email with an urgent subject line: "You should write the story of how Facebook blew an opportunity to turn out 300k voters." The sender, a veteran progressive online activist who would prefer to remain anonymous, was upset for good reason. The election was bound to be close, and as of 10am that morning he hadn't yet seen an "I'm Voting" button on his Facebook page, nor had another colleague of his. Nor was one on my own Facebook page. Given that when Facebook deployed a similar "I Voted" button in 2010, and added messages in users' News Feeds showing them the names and faces of friends who had said they voted, the cumulative effect boosted turnout then by at least 340,000 votes, these activists had good reason to be concerned. Facebook had announced that it was going to do the same thing in 2012, and this time around its American user base had grown enormously, from 61 million to more than 160 million. A social and visible nudge like an "I 'm Voting" button had the potential to measurably increase turnout, even more so as Facebook was including a useful tool to help people find their polling places. And yet on Election Day 2012 its deployment was far from universal. Facebook was conducting research on us. Read More

First POST: Collections

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 13 2014

The collection of phone meta-data would not have stopped any terrorist attacks since 9-11, says a New America Foundation study; Christie's aides are hardly the only political hacks using personal email to avoid public records laws; Matthew Burton explains how the CFPB's experience can help other govies make better web products; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Open Science Breaks Down International Barriers for Researchers

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, March 18 2013

The Research Data Alliance website (screengrab).

Two decades ago, scientists at CERN in Switzerland were among the earliest non-military users of the World Wide Web, posting the first photo to what had been a purely text-based medium, among other innovations.  This week, an international group from the scientific community aims to set new precedents for the future of the Internet, with the launch of a major open data initiative for research and knowledge. 

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WeGov

Israel Has Two Pirate Parties That Hate Each Other

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 30 2013

In a 21st century digital echo of Monty Python's Life of Brian, Israel, a country of just over 7 million, has two Pirate Parties. One is called Pirate Party Israel and the other the Israel Pirate Party. Neither party recognizes the legitimacy of the other; nor do their founders have anything positive to say about one another. Read More

WeGov

How the German Pirate Party's "Liquid Democracy" Works

BY David Meyer | Monday, May 7 2012

In the midst of the political upheaval affecting Europe, a relatively new movement is making stunning progress, particularly in Germany. On Sunday, the Pirate Party entered its third German state parliament in eight months, demonstrating momentum that surprises even its core members. The party is now on track to pick up a double-digit percentage of the vote in next year's federal elections. And it's dealing with this explosive growth through the medium it knows best: technology. Read More

The Europe Roundup: Is Downloading a Right or More of a Religion?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, January 6 2012

Demo.cratica. Photo by Owni.eu

Is downloading a right, or even more? In Switzerland a law allows it for personal use and a recent study concluded that downloaders use the money they save to buy more legitimate entertainment products But downloading might even become a religion. Or so it seems in Sweden, at least. Read More

The Europe Roundup: MPs Are Now Allowed To Tweet in Parliament

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, October 19 2011

UK | MPs Are Now Allowed To Tweet in Parliament  With 203 votes in favour (and 63 against), British MPs are now officially allowed to tweet during their activities in the Chamber of Commons.  The vote resolves ... Read More

Nordic Techpolitics - Oslo, September 2nd

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, August 31 2011

Here's a preview of Nordic Techpolitics, a conference that will focus on how technology is changing politics, government and societies in the Nordic countries. The conference will take place in Oslo, next September 2nd. ... Read More

Pirates Board European Politics: The Internet's First Political Party

BY Antoni Gutierrez-Rubi | Thursday, October 15 2009

Founded in Sweden on 1st January 2006, the Pirate Party (Piratpartiet) now boasts more than 45,000 members, making it the third largest Swedish political force in number of affiliates. This rapid growth is due in part to ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

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